You know our industry is rapidly changing. We see the innovations of the large retailers changing the face of optometry away from exam driven practices to retail and online solutions. Now it is up to you to stay ahead of those large retailers and to flourish in changing world of optometry.
When was the last time you walked into a travel agency to book a vacation?
Can you recall the last time you bought a prescription from a private pharmacist?
What happened to all of those small companies?
Look around, you cannot avoid the changes that are coming unless you are willing to change as well.
The best way to ensure your survival in a big-box world is to fill a niche. As optometrists, we focus on ensuring that our patients have the best vision possible. While you are focusing on your passion (healthy vision for your patients), you are neglecting your best customer attractor: your dispensary.
Your dispensary is one of the biggest keys to your success. Your dispensary including your opticians are your greatest assets to drawing patients into your exam room. You should work with your staff to create a boutique environment for your patients. This approach will create a profit driver for your survival and at the same allow you to pursue your passion. Let me briefly give an example of how.
Creating a boutique experience for your customers does not have to be an overwhelming or costly proposition. There are a few steps that can make your dispensary feel high end to your customers while making you money. One of the easiest ways is to draw in clients is with what I call Image Makers while keeping most of the brands that you sell as Money Makers.
Divide your dispensary. 30% of your board needs to be Image Makers.
Image Makers are the frames with the instantly recognizable retail brand names. Brands such as Calvin Klein, Nike, Dior and Gucci fit this category and are distributed by Marchon and Safilo. These well-known brands are able to charge premium prices for their frames; however, they do not leave much profit for you. Their higher prices reflect costs such as National Advertising, POP, display cases, posters and visiting sales representatives.
In order to take full advantage of the Image Makers, your store needs to mirror their First Class image. Use the high-end display cases, posters and other POP material that you have paid for in the front of your store to attract patients into your office. Make sure all of your frames are shown on brightly colored and well lit wall and display cases.
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