By Mark Wright, OD, FCOVD,
and Carole Burns, OD, FCOVD
Nov. 16, 2022
Retail trends often impact eyecare practices. Here are five of the top trends you will continue seeing in your favorite stores and retail sites over the next five years, including how those trends may play out in your practice.i
1) Frictionless Checkout Experience
Anyone who has visited an Apple Store recently has seen the future of checkout systems. There is no checkout desk. There is no checkout line. When you are finished with the team member helping you, there is no next step. You are done. The team member has a tablet that lets you checkout right then and there.
Now, compare the Apple checkout system to what is going on in your practice. Is it as easy? Is it frictionless? Does your checkout system ever have a line of people waiting to be checked out?
And the big question: Is it time to change?
2) Interactive Displays
Last year, e-commerce accounted for around 15 percent of total retail sales. Next year, eMarketer data tells us that number is expected to grow to about 19 percent. That means that the overwhelming majority of retail sales is taking place at brick-and-mortar locations. The trend we are seeing is that brick-and-mortar stores are turning to technology to compete with e-commerce.
For example, Walgreens plans to bring this technology to 2,500 stores with the goal of reaching 75 million store visitors per month.
Interactive displays help in three important ways: increasing patient engagement, providing relevant offers to increase conversions and boosting in-location data collection. Your practice will perform better when attention is placed on these three areas. These three areas are so important that we are planning to address how these topics can help your practice in future Insights articles.
3) Buy Online, Pickup in Store
Shopify research tells us that 30 percent of people had their first experience with BOPIS (buy online, pickup in-store) during the pandemic. McKinsey tells us that 59 percent of people intend to continue this trend in the future.
One of the most powerful ways you can use this trend in your practice is to have patients select multiple pairs of eyeware while they are in the practice today – even if they are not planning to purchase multiple pairs today. Then, with the data in your software, you can remind them in two months that they have already selected and been measured for the glasses the doctor prescribed (i.e.: sunwear, office, sports, etc.) and ask if they are now ready to take the next step, which is to BOPIS (buy online, pickup in store)?
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4) Hyper-Personalized Patient Experiences
The bar for good customer service has been raised. Today’s patients expect you to give them what they want exactly when they want it. In today’s world it is not enough to just have a functioning recall system. It requires much more.
To do this well you need to use data, artificial intelligence and marketing automation to create targeted experiences for your patients. This starts with your customer relationship management software (CRM). This immediately raises two major questions: do you have CRM software and are you using CRM software effectively?
Starbucks is a great example of using CRM effectively. We drove by a Starbucks yesterday and took note of the seven-car line in the drive through. At the airport today, when walking by Starbucks, there were 10 people in line waiting for their morning coffee fix. What would drive people to wait in line for a $5 cup of coffee? It is a well-thought out marketing plan with a superb implementation of information from their CRM delivering an excellent hyper-personalized experience.
Do you want your practice to become best-in-class? Then, you must excel at delivering a hyper-personalized experience to each patient. Learn from Starbucks.
5) Private Label
Private labels and store brands are moving to the forefront of retail sales. The Private Label Manufacturers Association (PLMA) tells us that private label accounts for one out of every four goods sold in retail channels.ii
We are surrounded by private labels. Here are four examples:
- Costco: Kirkland Signature
- Kroger: Simple Truth
- Target: 45 different private labels
- Dick’s Sporting Goods: VRST
When we think of generational marketing, an important question to ask is: What do millennials want from you? The answer is great service, good deals and convenience. Researchers often target millennials because they represent a large group of people who are likely to get richer over time, thus representing an important market. But, don’t most people want great service, good deals and convenience?
There are a few people who are brand specific. If a patient walks into the practice wearing Gucci shoes, Gucci clothes, a Gucci hat and carrying a Gucci handbag, what is the first frame line you show them? It certainly is not Calvin Klein or a private label. Keep in mind, brand-loving patients represent the extreme minority of patients you see.
If you laid 10 different frames on a tabletop and covered the frame markings, most people could not tell you the manufacturer. Most people are looking for great service, good deals and convenience.
Don’t leave private label out of your mix of frame inventory.