Patients are still not turning to their local independent ECP for action sport sunwear, findings from The Vision Council’s 2014 Action Sports Report suggest. “Action sports” includes water sports, mountain sports, extreme sports like ATV riding and road sports like moto cross. Chain sporting goods retailers were the most common locations that action sports sunglass purchasers visited when making their sunglass purchase (24.2 percent).
Online purchasing was the next most common retail location for action sports sunglass purchasers, with 20.8 percent saying they visited an online retailer when purchasing their action sports sunglasses. Online retailers were especially common among younger respondents (23.2 percent) and respondents who participated in mountain sports (25.0 percent). Local sporting goods retailers near sports activities were another popular choice among action sports sunglasses purchasers (13.4 percent), particularly among water sports participants at 17.5 percent of respondents.
Dave Ziegler, OD, has taken sporting activities and broken them down into the following areas on his web site:
• Aerobic fitness (running, biking, dance, walking)
• Water sports (swimming, scuba, water polo, water skiing or wakeboarding)
• Winter sports (skating, cross-country or downhill skiing or snowboarding)
• Ball sports (baseball, basketball, football, soccer, volleyball, golf and tennis)
• Martial arts (karate, judo, tae kwon do or capoeira)
• Extreme sports (skateboarding, mountain biking and rock climbing)
I would add to the above list shooting sports. Shooters can be helped significantly by using different tints during different activities during different times of day.
Start thinking about action sports sunwear in your practice. Talk to your lab reps about what products would be best for each type of event. The AOA Sports Vision Section and COVD should be able to help with resources, as well. Create a protocol for each sporting activity identifying what is needed and checking to see that you have it available in enough different styles to make it interesting for patients.
Don’t make the mistake of thinking that you can’t do anything until you offer everything. You don’t need to offer everything tomorrow. Start with activities with which you have a comfort level. Add new activities as you grow. Keep in mind that some action sports sunwear can be offered across multiple activities.
Think of this as a marketing activity. As you grow, your reputation will expand. Since word of mouth is the most common way new patients find you, give your current patients a reason to tell new patients about you and how you helped them improve their performance with their new action sports sunwear. Run a promotion for each new patient they refer.
The key to improving this part of your practice is to start today. And that’s your action plan: Identify the step you can take right now and then take it.