The independent optical shop has fierce competition in the plano sunglasses market–and doesn’t seem to be faring well, findings from The Vision Council’s 2014 Plano Sunglass Sales report suggest. Some $1,491.8 million in plano sunglass sales were generated at “sunglass specialty” shops. By contrast, independent opticals generated $149.5 million in plano sunglass sales. “Drug/grocery/mass/warehouse clubs” generated $686.2 million in plano sunglass sales and “better department & specialty stores” generated $542.9 million. Optical chains generated $223.2 million in plano sunglass sales, while sporting goods stores generated $157.9 million. Flea market/street vendors generated $33.3 million in plano sunglass sales.
Your patients are buying plano sunglasses. The question is: Are they buying them from you? Here’s where the Vision Council’s 2014 Plano Sunglass Sales report says your patients are buying sunglasses.
To fix this problem, here are seven steps you can implement in your practice to get patients to buy plano sunglasses from you.
STEP 1: Measure to manage
This is always the first step. You have to know where you are to know where you are going. Measure how many plano sunglasses you are currently selling. Now that you know where you are, set goals for where you want to go. Set a specific number for how many plano sunglasses you want to sell each month for the next year.
STEP 2: At least 20 percent of your displayed frames need to be sunglasses or sunglass-able
Make sure at least 20 percent of the frames on your frame board are either sunglasses or sunglass-able. You can get stickers from your optical labs that you can put on clear lenses of frames that say these can also be made into sunglasses. This gives the impression to patients that you have enough sunglass choices that they can find what they want in your practice.
STEP 3: Merchandize your sunglasses in your optical
There are at least two major ideas here to pursue.
1) Make sure to highlight sunglasses on your frame boards. Create a ribbon of sunglasses at eye level across all frame boards. This sets up a strong message that you are serious about sunglasses.
2) You must have enough branded sunglasses with names that patients recognize. Oakley, Maui Jim and Ray Ban are commonly recognized names. The name of the brands must be prominently displayed so patients entering the optical see names they recognize so they believe they are in the right place to purchase sunglasses.
STEP 4: Explain to patients how they benefit from plano sunglasses (comfort and UV protection)
From the patient’s perspective, it’s all about me (i.e.: the patient). Use posters and scripts to explain to patients the benefits of wearing plano sunglasses and the dangers and damage that come from not wearing protective plano sunglasses.
STEP 5: Explain to patients why patients should purchase from you
This step is key. Patients think all sunglasses are the same. You need to use posters and scripts to explain to patients the benefits of buying from you and the dangers of buying elsewhere. Check with your optical labs to see what marketing materials they have that can help you.
STEP 6: The doctor needs to prescribe from the exam room
Eighty percent of patients will do what the doctor tells them to do in the exam room. So, tell patients what to do. The doctor needs to prescribe plano sunwear in the exam room. Here’s an easy script: “The number one cause of vision loss over age 60 is macular degeneration. The damaging rays from sunlight enter your eyes every day you are outside. This damage is additive, therefore, we need to stop this process. You need protective sunglasses. Today, I’m prescribing for you protective sunglasses.”
STEP 7: Make it easy to pay
In today’s world, budgets are tight. Make sure you have options for patients such as CareCredit or PayPal that make it easy for patients to pay.