By Bradley Richlin, OD
July 22, 2020
Your patients are relying more than ever on online purchases of products. That reliance, which was strong before the pandemic, has surged. A practice without an online contact lens store is a practice primed to lose thousands of dollars–possibly per day–in contact lens sales.
In March, my four-doctor practice finally decided it was time to give our patients a simple, convenient way to buy contacts online–from us. With people focused more than ever on online shopping, we did not want to lose contact lens sales to large online competitors.
Fortunately, our contact lens distributor, ABB Optical Group, could offer us access to Yourlens.com at no additional cost. Giving patients the ability to purchase contacts through our practice web site has added up to as much as $1,000-$3,000 in additional revenue per day.
We now have a page on our own web site, with our practice branding, where patients can go to purchase their contacts.
As Easy for Staff as for Patients
Yourlens.com was a seamless contact lens ordering solution for our practice, and was integrated into our web site after an afternoon phone call with ABB Optical Group, with no training required for our staff. It’s as simple as our office receiving a link notifying us that a patient has requested the purchase of contact lenses. All we need to do is verify that the patient still has a valid prescription and then click the link to authorize the purchase. It takes our staff no more than one minute to do this.
ABB Optical Group takes care of everything else about the order, including boxing it up and shipping it to the patient. My office doesn’t have to act as a fulfillment center for patient contact lens orders. Yet we are able to capture the revenue from all contact lens purchases made through the Yourlens.com page within our web site.
Reconcile Monthly with Ease
We already reconcile our monthly ABB Optical Group bill against our patients’ files, so using Yourlens.com means there is not an additional bill from a new vendor to worry about reconciling.
Other online contact lens ordering services send you a monthly or quarterly statement in which it is hard to tell when the patient last ordered contact lenses. Yourlens.com makes bill reconciliation, as well as the tracking of our patients’ contact lens purchases, easy, with no additional work required of my staff.
Make it Easy for Patients to Say Yes
When patients call or e-mail asking for their contact lens prescription, our staff is trained to say yes, but also to ask the patient why they would like their prescription. If the patient says it’s because they want to buy their contacts online, we are now able to tell the patient that they can purchase their contacts online from us, through a page within our web site.
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Most patients prefer to buy from their doctor versus from a company they have never purchased from before–even if the contacts purchased from their doctor are slightly more expensive than what they would purchase from a large online contact lens retailer.
Allow Patients to Do Business with You the Way They Prefer
For a long time my practice was hesitant to facilitate online ordering of contact lenses because we didn’t want to train our patients to buy contacts online. We thought that if we did that, they would soon discover that they could purchase their lenses for less from a source other than us. The reality is our patients have had those other options available to them for years.
We found that our patients would rather purchase from us. Once we gave them a convenient online option, they took advantage of it. We haven’t had one patient, whom we educated about the ability to purchase from our site, choose to purchase online from someone else.
Brand Your Practice Forward-Thinking & Efficient
On our practice’s Google Reviews page, certain keywords keep coming up, including “high-end,” “state-of-the-art” and “futuristic.” Having a contact lens store within our practice web site supports that image as a practice offering patients all the latest ways to receive service and products.
So many eyecare offices have yet to take action on implementing an online contact lens ordering page on their web site. Patients appreciate being able to buy contact lenses online from the same trusted doctor who prescribed their lenses. We just have to make it easy for them to do business with us.
If we have to shut down again, or just want to take a vacation, we’ll still be able to fulfill our patients’ needs and drive revenue no matter if our doors are open or not. Patients are noting that we’re ahead of the game, and are a practice they know will always offer them the most modern and convenient services.