Optical Business Success 183


Tasty, weekly nuggets of random goodness; observations, musings, tips, stories, and science hand-picked to help you achieve success in your life and independent optical business.


If you’re doing what everyone else is doing, you’re doing it wrong.
—A wise person


Patients Are Not A Virtue

...at least not where optical is concerned. Patients don't seek out medical experiences for pleasure. In fact, they tend to avoid them like the plague if at all possible. Customers on the other hand, often look forward to, and even seek out good purchasing experiences as a form of enjoyment or entertainment. In over a half-century, no matter how nice the staff or how beautifully the office, I don’t ever recall looking forward to a patient experience. Not once. 

Is it any wonder that with an ever-increasing number of options for people to purchase eyewear while skipping the “patient” experience altogether, they are opting to do so?

It seems pretty clear, if you are interested in operating a profitable optical or selling eyewear beyond the next five years, you should be thinking about the optical side of the business in terms of how to best attract customers or clients. Leave the patient “treatment” for the doc side of the house. 


Healthcare Is For Everyone

...and that, in a nutshell, is the second big problem with thinking of your optical as a dispensary of medical devices.

There’s a saying in marketing that goes, “If you market to everyone, you sell to no one.” Of course, that didn’t matter back when “everyone” that came to the eye doctor bought their eyewear on the way out the door. But, we know all too well that’s no longer the case. Now, who you market your optical to, who you speak to, who every aspect of your optical is designed to attract, is not only important but a matter of survival. 

If you find your customers are leaving to shop online, you may want to ask yourself, if you are still trying to sell to everyone. Then consider narrowing your focus. Ideally, find a niche of eyewear customers you are passionate about. Work towards attracting them as customers. Build a small group of raving fans and they will help you grow. 

The goal isn’t to have everyone as your customer (big boxes and online have that market wrapped up). The goal is to have the right people.


Get Horizontal

As [smart] optical moves more toward retail, a horizontal approach could provide a key differentiator in the battle to stay relevant in the minds of consumers. While this article is a few years old and the concept of aspirational marketing is going out of favor, the ideas of cross-selling and multiple streams of revenue certainly are not. 


Reviews You Can Use

In a world where the overwhelming majority of purchase decisions start online, reviews can make or break your business. Of all the reputation indicators, reviews are the most visible and potentially the most valuable. They’re often displayed before ads and web pages in search and they’re an important factor in where you appear in search results. 

It is essential to take a proactive approach to review management. This means identifying your happiest customers and encouraging them to write reviews. Get more reviews with these 16 tried and true tactics. 


Check In to Cash Out

Coupons are no way to build a loyal fan base. So why would you offer coupons to attract the wrong kind of customer? Kill the coupon and try this instead. 


Checkout to Cash In

Dr. Scott Keating at Vision Trends in Dover, OH, has an idea. “I fit key people in key business locations with free unique eyewear. I fit some of the grocery store checkout ladies in fun frames. Think about all the people who go through their checkout lines.” To ensure it is cost-effective, let your rep and lab know about the plan and ask for a discount on that frame, Keating advises. “The patient/customer becomes a walking model for several years. This is a great return on investment.”

Influencer marketing IRL. Brilliant!


Optician Video of The Week: OpticianWorks New for 2021

Take a peek at some of the hard work we've been putting into OpticianWorks just for you. Updates include additions to the contact lens section, "Math for Opticians", and "Working with Vison Plans", as well as the brand new and wildly popular Optician Qualification Standard. 

Through our OpticianWorks free videos, Laramy-K Optical is making every effort to provide better and more accessible (and yes, even free) education for opticians, helping independents everywhere deliver a better optical experience. But we’re only able to do it with your support. 

You can help keep it going in two ways: 

Purchase a paid membership to OpticianWorks.com for you or staff, to access the best in online optician training (The videos are only a small portion). 

Or, even better, open a Laramy-K Optical lab account for the very best in independent lab work and we'll throw in the OpticianWorks memberships for your entire staff for free! Your customers and your staff will thank you!


I hope you enjoyed this edition of Optical Business Success. Please share with anyone you think might benefit from it. If someone shared it with you and you would like to receive future updates, join over 15,000 optical professionals and sign up here. https://www.laramyk.com/optical-retail-success/


Until next time, be kind and never stop learning!