Returning eyewear is disrupting your dispensary profits and is costing your practice money to manage and replenish your frame boards with new frames. In this post from the Optical Vision Site, Cathy Ives explores what effects returning unpurchased frames has on your optical dispensing profits, your practice, and the relationship with the manufacturer.
Optical Dispensing Insights on Frame Returns
One area of inventory management that we challenge eyecare
professionals to do in 2017 is to eliminate
returning and exchanging eyewear.
Unfortunately, the advantage of being able to return product costs everyone. Suppliers, eyecare offices, and even the consumer. It is an inefficient way to do business, because the buyer is not accountable to make good buying decisions.
I don’t care if the rep says if it doesn’t sell you can always return it. Remember every time you have to return a frame, you are losing money.
I would challenge you to look at your return rates, your vendors all track this. If you have a return rate over 8%, you need to fix it. High returns could be due to a myriad of reasons:
- Poor Buying Habits,
- Poor Inventory management. Not buying what sells.
- Staff lack of education about the product.
- Staff/buyer turnover.
- Not enough product representation on the boards. Lack of commitment to the product.
- Too much product on the boards in order to get inventory turns.
- Product is Not merchandised effectively.
- Product is not shown.
- Product is over-priced for what it is.
- Fear of selling the product.
- Prejudging patients.
Returns are killers to every eyewear manufacturer. I would imagine it is one of the reasons that manufacturers are now going direct to the consumer. Returning eyeglasses leads to increased costs. Not only are you paying the cost in the higher price of frames, but you pay again by returning product.
What to do? Pretend there is NO return policy. The return policy should have NOTHING to do with purchasing an eyewear collection. The #1 consideration in buying any frame collection should be the Sell Through! That is the one and only way you make money in frames. NOT Returning Product.
Just because a frame is sitting, does not mean it’s unsaleable. It could mean, it’s in a bad position in the office, it has never been shown or tried on, you could be carrying too much product (see inventory management). Remerchandise the product, focus on showing it to every person, that is how you get sell through.
No matter how you look at it, you lose money by returning frames. The keys to controlling returns: work with your reps, buy only product that sells, and develop a mark down program that can work for you.
To view the impact of returning eyewear, visit The Optical Vision Site.