4 Summer Optical Promotion Ideas

A recent one-day-one sale at the optical where Hannegan works, which generated over $5,000 worth in revenues.

By Colleen Hannegan, ABOC, CPO

May 9, 2018

Summer is nearly here, and with it comes the opportunity to heat up optical sales. Fortunately, there are many great, yet easy, ways to encourage purchases of the eyewear you sell. Here are four that are worth trying.

Specialized promotions are well worth the effort, especially since it often doesn’t require much. For example, the optical where I work recently hosted a one-day-only frame sale on a Saturday, advertised by a sign in the window, along with announcements on social media. We used a pre-printed banner custom-sized for a part of our front window. The sale was for 20 percent off all frames and sunglasses. The cost of the window banner was $110, and our revenues increased by more than $2,000 for that day. Instead of generating our typical Saturday revenues of $2,500-$3,000, we sold $5,000 worth of eyewear.

A buy-one-get-one-free sale can generate interest in your optical, and excitement to make a purchase that the patient may not have previously been able to afford.

Buy One Get One (BOGO)
BOGO has been around a long time, but have you offered it lately? It’s the best way to say adios to your aging stock of frames, and generate interest in your optical.

BOGO should be for a limited time only. It’s meant to create a need to decide, and to take advantage of your offer. It’s not a closeout of junk stock. It’s an offer to your patients that gives them twice as much eyewear for their dollars.

The best way to capitalize on your profit while giving away a frame is to be clear that the offer can’t be used with any insurance plan. First pair should be a full price, non-sale item. Second pair should be a single-vision reading, computer or distance-only pair. Lens treatments and tints should cost extra.

For example, Mrs. Patient purchases a $229 frame with $350 CR-39 digital progressives and a $120 digital anti-glare treatment.

You could offer to make her a reading-only extra pair, or extra back-up distance pair for night driving, or a pair of computer distance lenses with sale frame. AR would be extra, as would any poly or high-index lens. If you want to give it a try to see how it affects sales, offer the AR, lens treatments or tints at 50 percent off on the BOGO pair.

Your patient may also decide to use the BOGO offer to choose sunglasses. Great! They pay for the polarized filter and back AR or tints. What a deal for both you and them.

Consider creating a package offer. For example, any designer brand frame with upgraded lenses and lens treatments would be eligible for BOGO. Then, have a colorful, fun display showing all the BOGO frames being offered as the free second one.

You can’t pull out a dusty box of dirty frames everyone hates selling and expect good results. The free frames need to be cleaned, adjusted and looking their best, even if they’re old stock. Place them in a colorful display area with a balloon attached and colorful signage. Make the take-home presentation nice as well, with pretty bags and bows. You might even have a BOGO stamp made with a smiley face on it.

Consider buying some new frames at closeout prices from a favored vendor just for your BOGO summer offer. ClearVision Optical is one frame company that comes to mind as being especially helpful with pricing for special offers, and having solid product lines for low-price deals.

Have fun with your print and online advertising of summer sales, and make it colorful and playful. You can purchase stock art online, and then customize for your optical.

Summer Trunk Shows
Summer trunk shows are a great way to create buzz and sales. Consider inviting two frame companies that complement each other; a sport line and a designer line. The sport enthusiast gets to preview what’s new, and bring along a friend who wants to shop glamour.

An after-hours summer-time trunk show allows for nicer weather (hopefully) to have your doors open, the bright lights on and maybe a local musician playing.

Create trunk show theme, such as “See You at the Beach!” You then decorate with beach umbrellas, flip-flops and frisbees, or other low-cost items.

You can keep costs down for these events because trunk shows can be a great way to get your frame reps to donate giveaways, food and drink, and show specials for one night only.

Trunk shows need planning at least two months ahead to secure your reps, and be sure you have adequate time to market the event to your patients. A poster in your front windows to advertise the show, along with e-blasts to your patients, are effective. You could create an offer that those who bring a friend get 25 percent off the complete sale for both themselves and their friend.

It’s a great idea to partner with a neighboring merchant, such as a clothing boutique, shoe store or hair salon, that can complement your merchandise while promoting their own business and inviting their customers into your shop.

Consider an attractive trunk show incentive for your staff. For example, work with a frame rep to offer an extra sale price incentive for a personal frame for the employee who sells the most at the show. If sales are especially successful, you could offer a complete pair of Rx sunglasses for each staff member.

Ask your staff to personally contact 10-20 of their favorite patients to invite them to the show.

Play up the excitement of a sale–don’t be afraid to tout it as a “big” sale, or a “blowout.” A sale is no time to be modest.

Gift with Rx or CL Purchases
Summer is sunscreen and vacation time. For every new order of Rx sunglasses, or plano sunglasses for your CL patients, include a gift bag filled with a small tube of sunscreen, a deflated a beach ball, a $3 gift card to a local ice cream store, or local coffee shop for an iced drink, a tube of lip balm sunscreen and a small bottle of lens cleaner and cloth.

Ask the ice cream store if they’d consider selling the $3 gift card to you for $2 since you’re doing all the work. Same with the coffee shop. Store managers sometimes have the authority to offer you a special deal in exchange for promoting them. The gift bags can be found at a discount store like Dollar Tree for very little.

It can cost as little as $6-8 for each giveaway bag.

Instead of discounting that sunwear purchase as much as you may do at other times, discount it less, and include the gift bag. For example, for contact lens purchasers, plano sunglasses could come with a 20 percent discount.

You can build special gifts with purchase around a summer theme. You can emphasize the summer experience, offering a gift bag with a small tube of sunscreen, lip balm with sunscreen and a cloth wipe for sunglasses.

Future-Use Coupons
Many retailers offer this instant savings offer after purchase. For instance, every time I buy my vitamins at, I get a promo coupon of 20 percent off for my next purchase. Online retailers always keep you engaged to return and save money. They appreciate your business, and tell you so with offers to return soon to save money again.

Consider a future-use coupon included with every eyewear sale in July and August. This would be an actual piece of paper that is designed as a check made out to your patient for $50, or $75, toward their next purchase of eyewear. The coupon should have your business name on it and relevant information. Most importantly, it needs an expiration date. I’d suggest 12/31/2018.

The coupon doesn’t require fancy printing, but needs to be bright pink, yellow or red, so it will stand out in patients’ wallets to remind them. They can use it right away on the second pair they’re buying today, or by year’s end. A creative person on your staff could draw a check, or a fake $50 bill, and run color copies.

To generate referrals, you could also allow a friend of the patient to use the coupon. Summer is a good time to spread the love–and shopping opportunities.


Colleen Hannegan, ABOC, CPO, a licensed optician, owns Spirited Business Advisor. This consultancy works with small businesses, including independent eyecare practices, on how best to serve customers and generate profitability. To contact her:

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