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SECO University Blog

Cases from the Sunny South – Tyler, Nguyen

“Cases from the Sunny South” a new online course presented by Julie Tyler, OD and Thuy-Lan Nguyen, OD is a rapid-fire, case-based presentation of various clinical conditions focuses on less common ocular conditions with visual risks in various patient populations with a focus on patients more commonly seen in urban and suburban clinics in South Florida. Included will be a discussion of some of the latest recommendations for systemic work-ups when indicated and management of the ocular conditions discussed. It’s two-hours of COPE-approved eduation, currently available in our Subscriber Library.

3 Inventory Buying Tips to Grow Your Practice – Tip #3

Article by Andy Tabrizipour / Gazal Eyewear

 

Tip #3 How to move Luxury Eyewear Products

 

In the first part of the series we learned how to purchase inventory that will set our practice apart.  In the second part of the series we discovered how to monitor our purchases to identify which products are appealing the most to our patients while keeping the books in the black.  In part 3 of this series we will learn how to create a marketing strategy to introduce and move the products to our patients.

 

Step 1 – Training

With a unique product line comes a unique story and design.   These little tidbits of information are what sets the eyewear line apart from everything else we showcase.  Your patients are now being introduced to your new brand for the first time and they will have tons of questions before they part with their hard earned cash.  It is our duty as a partner with the new line to take the time to learn everything possible about the brand.   A united and educated staff will be all the difference in the success of the new line.

Your sales rep will be a vital resource to provide training to you and your staff so that you are ready to answer questions and provide background information to your patients.  Learning about the history, technical details, and nuances of doing business should be done in 3 stages.

  • Before bringing in the new eyewear line. “The Preview”
  • Immediately after the products arrive. “Core Training”
  • A routine training to keep everyone sharp. “Follow Up Training / New Product Training” (With busy schedules and patients coming and going it is a good idea to keep the training fresh for everyone and we may even pick up on something new along the way).

Learning more about a product line creates enthusiasm amongst the staff and unity.  Learning more about a particular brand can also lead to a personal connection.  Our patients crave a personal connection to their eyewear, it is something that will get more mileage than any other accessory they own.  It is this personal connection that will speak to our staff and patients and create brand loyalty.  Once a patient has brand loyalty they will excitedly return year after year to see what is new with the brand and update to the latest style.

 

Step 2 – Display/Location

Location, location, location… if you have heard this before it’s because it is vital on so many different levels.  Just as important as getting traffic into the store is vital to the store location, the location of your eyewear in your boutique can create success or demise.  Which part of your boutique gets the most attention?  If you are “trying out” a new frame line then give it the best chance of success.  Tucking the products away in a location in the boutique that does not get much traffic is not fair to you or the brand.  The new eyewear line needs a ton of attention to give you the feedback you need.

The display itself is also vital, if it does not grab the attention of your patients then it will take your staff alone to show these products.   If the frames are all on the board with no branding, pictures, models, colors, and/or a fun display case then they will blend with the rest of your product lines.  Each line should stand out in its own way and how it stands out will appeal to each consumer differently.  Some displays will just look “fun” or “modern” and that will attract a person who is looking for something “New” and “Fun” to take a look.   Having a variety in displays also promotes the fact that eyeglasses are not only a medical device but a fun accessory.  People love to accessories and with obvious different options they can see the want and need to have at least one more pair.

 

Step 3 – Dress to Impress

It makes a HUGE difference when every staff member is wearing glasses in the office.  It is fun and exciting for the staff and patients to showcase the latest styles. It also conveys the message that “Hey, everybody is doing it, so I need to get some cool glasses too!”.   We should strive to create confidence and excitement in our patients.

Each staff member should wear a current frame that is not only something our boutique carries but that is CURRENT and EDGY.   Our patients see normal and inconspicuous eyewear everyday in real life, this is the one time to inspire and show them that they can have a little fun, at least with their second pair.  Once a patient gets a frame that “Wows” their friends and family then they will be asked “Where did you get THOSE glasses???”.   We not only have a very happy patient with a fun pair of glasses but now anyone else who wants something fun and different will be right in your door!  Referrals are the best and most effective type of marketing.  A referral is already confident and already has in their mind that they will have the same experience that their friend experienced.

 

Step 4 – Marketing & Trunk Shows

The only way you will ever be able to learn about a product is if you know it actually exists.  Some of us watch television, some YouTube, some social media, some of us are professional texters, and some love to sit back and read the newspaper.  Whomever you are, we always want to know about the latest news and how it can improve our lives.  Now it is time to share the news with all of our patients and there are several ways that will attract each of our patients differently.

Trunk shows are a huge opportunity to not only introduce new eyewear brands to our patients but to put some big sales numbers on the board.  If you have been in practice and have never hosted a show, you are missing out on a ton of potential income, plus the additional marketing that comes with it.  It is also a fun way to educate your staff and patients further about new and innovative eyewear brands.   Trunk shows gives your practice a one time opportunity to show case EVERYTHING the product line has to offer and give your clientele an opportunity to shop through a plethora of frame options.

New marketing software can send email blasts and text messages to all of our patients.  A quick message that says, “We got something new!”  or “Don’t miss the upcoming Trunk show” is fun and keeps our patients thinking about updating their glasses year round.   We should be actively collecting email addresses to quickly let everyone know that there is an upcoming event, or sale that many people would never know about otherwise.

Social media marketing is huge and you should dedicate some time each week to at least 2 – 3 different platforms.  It will take time and effort to build a strong following but constant involvement will show more and more promise as time goes on.  Try to avoid reposting articles that can be found on every eye care website in the nation.  Be different and creative with your post and tell your story.  Create unique posts with your own content that shows the latest styles, changes in your boutique, and other news.

We have now completed the last step and it is time to let the brand and staff do the rest of the work.  We rehearsed, we set the stage, we dressed the part, and we showcased the new luxury line.   For more news and learning tips join me at THE VIEW this year as we host a Q & A style class about luxury eyewear.  Check out SECO’s official website at https://attendseco.com/

Thank you for reading and feel free to post your questions and thoughts.

Children and Contact Lenses: The Opportunity with 1 Day Soft Contact Lenses

What role do children and teens play in your practice?

97% of optometrists currently fit contact lenses on patients under 18 years of age according to a recent survey conducted by the American Optometric Association Research and Information Center.[1]   In fact, 4 million children under the age of 18 are currently wearing soft contact lenses in the United States.[2]  While this suggests nearly all optometrists agree that teens can be successfully fit with contact lenses, opinions about the appropriate age to start children in contact lens wear vary widely.  As can be seen in Figure 1 below, the majority of optometrists agree that the ages of 10-12 is an appropriate time to introduce children to contact lens wear.  However, 1 in 4 optometrists think soft contact lenses should be introduced from age 13 onward, while nearly 1 in 4 optometrists advocate fitting children 9 years of age or younger with soft contact lenses.   A recent review of past clinical studies suggests that contact lens wear can be appropriate for children across this entire age range.  The review found that the risk of eye inflammation and infection in children is no higher than in adults, and in the youngest age range of 8 to 11 years, it may be even lower.[3]

 

What wearing modality is best for children?

The AOA survey found that the majority of children under 12 were fit in 1 day disposable lenses.1   Interestingly, the survey found that older children were fit in reusable lenses more often than 1 day lenses.1  This is surprising as numerous studies have found 1 day lenses to have a much lower incidence of corneal infiltrative events[4] and that wearers of 1 day lenses are much more compliant with replacement schedules[5].  Furthermore, 1 day lenses have been promoted for younger wearers due to the greater ease of maintaining compliance as lens cases, solutions, and proper lens cleaning etiquette are taken out of the equation with these lenses that are replaced on a daily basis.[6]

While cost was listed as a barrier to fitting children in 1 day disposable contact lenses, recent estimates have suggested that 1 day lenses are only marginally more expensive than monthly or two weekly lenses, particularly when accounting for solution and lens case costs.[7]  CooperVision® has a broad portfolio of 1 day lenses including hydrogel and silicone hydrogel options to fulfill the needs of most young wearers including astigmats, hyperopes and myopes.  With competitive pricing for our clariti® 1 day silicone hydrogel lenses, cost doesn’t need to be a reason to avoid fitting the most convenient lens modality for children and teens, 1 day disposable contact lenses.

Figure 1.   ECPs Opinions on Appropriate Age to Introduce Soft Contact Lenses from Reference 1.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What about the benefits of contact lens wear for children?

A research group from The Ohio State University developed the Pediatric Refractive Error Profile (PREP), a pediatric quality-of-life survey.[8]   These subjects were then refitted into contact lenses and the study concluded that contact lenses significantly improved the quality of life, as reported by children and teens using the PREP, and there was not a difference in improvement between children and teens.  The study also found that contact lens wear dramatically improves how children and teens feel about their appearance and participation in activities, leading to greater satisfaction with their refractive error correction.  The authors concluded that the improvement in quality of life after contact lens wear indicates that children should be offered contact lenses as a treatment for refractive error as routinely as teens.

What about chair time associated with fitting young children?   Doesn’t it take a lot longer to fit pre-teens in contact lenses compared to teenagers and young adults?

In another study, contact lenses in pediatrics or CLIP, the Ohio State team looked at chair time and ocular health differences in pre-teens and teenagers.[9]   They found that there were no significant differences in ocular health measures between pre-teens and teenagers fitted in contact lenses.   They did find that chair time with fitting younger children was about 15 minutes longer than teens, but that the majority of this increased fitting time was training on insertion and removal of contact lenses, a task that can be performed by contact lens fitting staff.   With this taken into account they found that the ECPs time with the patient was no different between children and teens.  They also found that neither children nor teens experienced problems related to contact lens wear during the study.   This study led the authors to conclude that eye care practitioners should consider routinely offering contact lenses as a treatment option, even for children 8 years old.

The available evidence from the literature suggests that the evaluated risks of wearing contact lenses are no greater in children than in adults, but that the benefits may be numerous.   Fitting children in contact lenses can offer you the opportunity to expand your contact lens practice.   1 day lenses can be a good option for children and teens due to increased ease of use and compliance.  CooperVision is here to help with a vast 1 day contact lens portfolio.  For more information on our 1 day contact lens portfolio talk to your CooperVision sales representative or research our 1 day lenses at https://coopervision.com/practitioner/our-products.  For more tips on how to start the 1 day conversation with patients, go to https://coopervision.com/practitioner/clinical-resources/moving-frequent-replacement-contact-lens-wearers-1-day-lenses.

 

[1] https://www.aoa.org/documents/npr10520_executivesummarychildrenandcontactlensesstudy_final.pdf

[2] https://www.allaboutvision.com/parents/contacts.htm

[3] Bullimore MA. The Safety of Soft Contact Lenses in Children. Optometry and Vision Science, Vol. 94, No. 6, June 2017.

[4] A) Chalmers RL, Hickson-Curran SB, Keay L, Gleason WJ, Albright R. Rates of adverse events with hydrogel and silicone hydrogel daily disposable lenses in a large postmarket surveillance registry: the TEMPO Registry. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2015 Jan 8;56:654-663.  B)Stapleton F, Keay L, Edwards K, et al. The incidence of contact lens-related microbial keratitis in Australia. Ophthalmology. 2008 Oct;115:1655-1662.  C)  Chalmers RL, Keay L, McNally J, Kern J. Multicenter case‐control study of the role of lens materials and care products on the development of corneal infiltrates. Optom Vision Sci 2012; 89: 316–325.

[5] Review of Cornea and Contact Lenses, March 2006.

[6] https://www.vsp.com/eyewear-wellness/lasik-glasses-lenses/contact-lens-for-kids

[7] https://www.clspectrum.com/issues/2019/may-2019/why-daily-disposables

[8] Walline, J.J. et.al.  Eye Contact Lens. 2007 Nov;33(6 Pt 1):317-21.

[9] Walline, J.J. et. al. Optom Vis Sci. 2007 Sep;84(9):896-902.

CooperVision technology featured on The Balancing Act

8268 SECO 1day SiHy slider ad R1

CooperVision contact lens technology was the subject of a recent segment on The Balancing Act, a daily morning show that, according to their web site, “…brings cutting-edge ideas to today’s on-the-go, modern woman to help balance and enrich her life every day.”

The segment covered the features and benefits of both Biofinity Energys® and clariti® 1 day contact lenses from both the patient and practitioner points of view.  Watch it here.

 

 

3 Inventory Buying Tips to Grow Your Practice

Article by Andy Tabrizipour / Gazal Eyewear

 

Tip #2  – Balancing the Inventory Ratio for Your Practice

In the last article we learned how to setup our new inventory by carefully selecting the right eyewear brands.  If you missed that article you can see it by clicking here.  Today, we will dig a little deeper and discover what is grow patient awareness that we have the best boutique in town to buy eyeglasses from.  Through the 3 steps below we will reveal our most popular eyewear brand and make sure that brand is helping us attract more customers and generate top revenue.

 

3 Basic Math Tips

Because every boutique is different and caters to different clients it’s vital to understand what our patients truly want, like, and actually buy from us.  Your demographics change often, cities grow, and tastes can change.  We should all adapt a little to that changing environment each day.

Now as crazy as our lives are it’s easy for us to think that “I am way too busy with day to day activities to add a new task to my day.”  However, this could not be further from the truth.  Success comes from careful planning, setting obtainable goals and a clear way to reach them.  We can actually reduce headache and financial strain by understanding all of the strong and weak points in our everyday practice.  We will keep the examples short and concise and we can always expand on them later.  Let’s get started and take a look at 3 simple ways to analyze frame sales.

Turn Ratio – How popular a brand is in OUR practice and how quickly it sells.

Capture Rate – How many patients that come in are actually making a glasses purchase.

ROI – How much profit are we actually making here?

 

Turn Ratio: 

The Turn Ratio formula helps us identify which brands are most popular amongst customers in our demographics.  For every pair of glasses we have on the board how many did we actually sell?

 

Example – Let’s say we carry 3 brands;

Brand X, Brand Y (Our personal favorite), & Brand Z

We decide to buy 50 frames to have on the board for each brand at the beginning of the year and by the end of the year we sum up all the sales and see how we did.  We have 10 frames left from Brand X, 20 frames from Brand Y, and 30 frames from Brand Z.   Assuming that we did not replenish any frames, then Brand X was our most popular brand.

Example

Turn Ratio = Total Sales / AVG Frames in Stock.

 

Brand Avg Frames In Stock Total Sales Ratio
X 50 40 0.80
Y 50 30 0.60
Z 50 20 0.40
AVG 50 30 0.60
     
 

Brand X’s Ratio tells us that for every pair of glasses we have on the board 0.80 are purchased by customers.  This calculation will change depending on how much and how often we replenish the inventory.  If we sell frames right off the board it complicates the formula further as well as lowers the capture rate.  It is recommended to keep our most popular styles & colors the board at all times.

 

Capture Rate:

This calculation shows us, what percentage of patients that visit you buy glasses. There are many reasons why someone chooses to buy. Whether it is because they only wear contact lenses, they did not see the color or style they want, they want to shop around, etc.  However, this calculation lets you know how well you are currently doing at capturing patients that come in.

The Math:   The Total Number of Patients that Buy Glasses Divided by the Total Number of Patients that come through the door.

 

For Example:

Let’s say in 2019 of May 500 patients enter your boutique.  There are 500 opportunities to capture an eyewear sale.  If 100 of those 500 people purchase glasses.  Then your capture rate would be calculated as

100 / 500 = 0.20 or 20%

 

Return on Investment (ROI)

This calculation tells us how much profit we are making from each frame sale and lets us know the earning potential we could have.  This is calculated by taking the initial cost the frame from the final sales price of a frame.  I cannot tell you how many times I spoke with a practice owner that had absolutely no idea how much or even if they are making any profit off the glasses sales.  I am not saying that making money should be your #1 goal, but it should at least be on the list.

 

ROI Examples: 

Brand X AVG Cost is $15 and retail is $30.  $30 – 15 = $15 profit

Brand Y AVG Cost is $9 and retail is $19  $19 – 9 = $10 profit

Brand Z AVG Cost is $25 and retail is $45.  $45 – 25 = $20 profit

The example above shows that the Brand Z is the most profitable per transaction.  This example does not include factors such as insurance discounts, buying groups, sales, promotions, or marketing discounts.

 

Putting it together:

All these formulas tell just a portion of a bigger picture, when you put them altogether you can really see what brand is generating the most income for you and saving you tons of headache.  For example we now can figure out the total profit each brand has driven based on the sales for the year.

Brand X Sold 40 frames at $15 profit each = $600

Brand Y Sold 30 frames at $10 profit each = $300

Brand Z Sold 20 frames at $20 profit each = $400

This example shows that Brand X generated the most profit. It also shows us that even though we sold less of Brand Z than Brand Y, Brand Z was still a more profitable Brand.  This is the true power of familiarizing yourself with these formulas because of the bigger picture.

Another way to now analyze the data is to project for next year’s sales.  This can help us calculate the need for additional hires, calculate how much we can afford in pay raises, and other sections like marketing budgets.

 

The Frame Wrap Up

In this article we discovered 3 simple math formulas to help us identify which brand move quickly and generate profit.  The next and final article in this series will show us how to drive numbers and improve marketing.  Thank you for taking the time out to read this article and feel free to reach out with any questions!

 

 

3 Inventory Buying Tips to Grow Your Practice

Article by Andy Tabrizipour / Gazal Eyewear

With all the constant changes creating a successful business in the eye care can be tricky.  One of the biggest components to success is frame inventory purchases.  Not planning out your inventory lineup can be detrimental by reducing sales and increasing debt.  You can create an eye-popping display, make your patients happy, & improve profits all through inventory setup.  Each Optical practice has different ideas on what frame inventory they should stock to make their business more successful.  Some of us focus on just the numbers while many of us will go for what they like or the “hippest “frames.  Neither of these approaches are wrong but limiting your focus can leave a lot of risk to business success.  There are many ways to “beef up” what you may or may not stock to not only make your customers happier, but attract new types of patients, and  improve your bank account.

Tip #1

How to Choose the Right Eyewear Brand Mix

Having a balanced inventory mix is always difficult because many of us cannot predict fashion trends, or just have never had exposure to a unique brand that speaks to us on a personal level.  Keep it simple and remember that there are products that are just going to move no matter what.   There are the patients that only want black or tortoise frames and then the consumers that want only color.  Obviously, if you stock just black frames you will miss out on a ton of sales and new patients.  Many practices are now so excited about all the new colors and unique designs that they forget to stock a few standard colors and shapes.  Keep a good blend of standard colors and make sure you balance it out with some fun shapes and colors.  Just because you do not like round frames doesn’t mean it won’t sell well.  Round frames may not fly off your boards, but its good to have the right ratio in stock.

Identifying Different Eyewear Types:

  • Fashion Eyewear Brands: These are big eyewear brand names such as Gucci, Chanel, Tom Ford, Coach, etc.  Easily recognizable and they usually make multiple products such as clothing, jewelry, & other accessories.

Contrary to what many believe these brands are not crucial to success.  I am not picking on fashion brands but many believe that they have to have these brands in order to succeed but this could not be further from the truth.  Big brands may drive a few patients a year into the door just because you stock them but may not be enough to justify the thought that one single brand is going to keep you in business.  You could very easily stock your store with brands that are not very popular and focus on marketing your boutique in different ways.  If you want the marketing behind big names, keep in mind that these products are popular which means that they are easily obtainable almost anywhere. The high level of competition especially from much larger companies will drive down ROI.  Patients can buy these products anywhere, which means there is no reason for them to come back next year.  Another problem that can arise with fashion brands is changing trends.  One year a brand maybe super popular, but the next year it may completely lose that hype.  Now you are stuck with a lot of inventory that is hard to move.  It is okay to have a few of these lines but going too deep can cause lots of trouble down the road when the trends change.

  • Comfort/Tech Brands: Eyewear lines that have unique designs that focus on comfort & durability such as Lindberg, Silhoutte, Starck, Innotec, Blackfin, etc

These brands may or may not follow the fashion trends but their own particular style.  The customer following behind these brands are very strong and loyal.  Tech brands have or will solve an issue for your customer, which creates instant loyalty to the brand but more importantly you.  Having at least one brand that fits into this category really separates you from the competition and drives patients that return year after year.

  • Insurance / Door Savers Brands:

These eyewear brands are the most basic and lowest priced available, and it is the price that attracts  customers to it.  Unless your main goal is to have the best prices in town, and you want to focus on quantity not quality, I would not buy too heavy in this department.  Many make the mistake that they need more of this category and most just “will not spend” more than their insurance allowance.  There is a big difference between what someone can spend and what they are willing to spend on eyewear.  With lower pricing comes lower profit margins which will in turn create a need to constantly increase the quantity that needs to be sold.

It is good to have at least one brand in this section so you can capture patients that fit into this category.  You never know what they will buy next year.  It is also very helpful to have these brands side by side to your luxury brands so you have the opportunity to educate the consumer on the difference and “why” the other eyewear brands are worth more.

  • Unique & Independent Label Brands: These are brands that your patients will connect with on a more personal level.    They are unique, and not something that every optical shop in town is offering.

Independent eyewear lines are usually the hardest brands to get on your shelf because you need to have some street credit (other luxury brands on the shevles) to get these brands to even consider opening up your account.  Wholesale pricing can be similar to the other brand types from super basic to ultra-luxury, but the ROI is usually there.  These are highly recommended to have in your shop and to make up a good percentage for multiple reasons.  Have unique products and services differentiates you from big box retailers, online websites, and local competition.  It also gives your patients another reason to visit you year after year to see what is new from their new favorite brand.   If you are able obtain some of these rare finds, then you are in luck.  Be sure to ask the rep what the best sellers are, exchange rate, warranty, and any additional questions you may have.  Do not be afraid to ask and stock the top sellers from the rep, they should know their brand pretty well and what moves.

I am sure you are now wondering how much or what ratio of each of these brands I should stock, & how can I find them?  You may also be saying that my patients won’t spend that much money on eyeglasses.  The saying “If you build it they will come” has a lot of truth here.  If you stock mostly bargain priced frames, each year that you are open you will attract more and more patients looking for bargain deals.  However, if you stock more moderately priced frames you can start to build up a customer base that is interested in those products and are not price conscious.  It comes down to the simple question.  “What kind of practice do you want to be?”

Answers to these important question and more will be all part of the next section of this article, Tip# 2 “Balancing the Inventory Ratio for your Eye Boutique”

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