Retail is an important part of your optical business. Paying attention to popular retail trends and applying those ideas to your practice is a good way to boost sales in your optical shop and beat online retailers.
After monitoring ecommerce patterns and cross-referencing them with eyecare retail predictions, we came up with 7 trends to watch in 2019 and beyond. We think this list provides valuable insight as to where the market for both retailers and eyecare professionals are going.
Keeping up with Retail Trends in Your Eyecare Practice
Traditionally eyecare professionals have teamed up with ophthalmologists, dentists, or audiologists in the area to give and receive referrals. Build connections with professionals whose expertise complements your own.
- Eyewear collaborations with celebrities (Olsen Twins, Hilary Duff, etc).
- Eyewear companies joining forces with artists.
- Smaller lens companies opening up online "lens only" options to the consumer.
- Eyecare professionals opening up online eyewear sites as a separate entity from their brick and mortar location.
2. Race For the Most Convenient Experience
Today, all shopping experiences are dictated by convenience. With the invention of same-day delivery, retailers are under pressure to make sure there's an extremely quick purchasing option, even if this includes a higher price tag or delivery fee. Optometrists should use trackable online purchasing solutions and intuitive patient schedulers to keep up.
Click and connect allows you to order and pay online before quickly picking up your order. Drone delivery, curbside groceries pickup, and the aforementioned instant delivery are just the beginning.
- Mobile platforms are changing the way consumers shop.
- Online eye exams and contact lens companies are changing the landscape. Are optometrists used to correct the mistakes of Hubble and Warby Parker?
3. In-Store Technology
The tech oriented retailer is employing technology such as tracking eye movements to understand their shoppers, virtual reality shopping and dressing rooms, payments with Apple Pay, and the use of wearable technology to enhance the shopping experience.
- In optical, the sale is done in the exam room. With technology, the patient has the eye exam in that room, they review different lens options, and they try on eyewear. The options are presented, bought, and quickly sent to the lab for production. Promote to patients that your practice is the one-stop-shop for both healthcare and product shopping.
4. Personalization to Reach New Heights
This covers several areas - the personalization of eyewear as well as remarketing.
- Eyecare retailers post customized, targeted Facebook and Google ads to reach the right consumers.
- Data is king. The more you know about your customers the better. Collecting data about each of your patients assists in better target marketing.
- Personalization of eyewear is increasing. Build your own eyewear online, interchangeable temples and lenses, 3D eyewear, and the growth of bespoke eyewear. We are also seeing a growth in unique rimless eyewear options as a way to customize the look.
5. The End of Points-Based Loyalty Cards
Loyalty has changed. The consumer wants to be rewarded now, not waiting to stack up points in order to receive something. Delight your patients and customers with regular freebies. Consider value added perks, like coupons and discounts, instead of a point system.
As the market becomes increasingly more competitive, retailers are looking for products that do not compete with online competition. Whether that product is a luxury, personalized, or exclusive all depends on the brand and demographics.
For retailers to survive, just offering eye exams may not be enough. Technology, store experiences, mobile, social media, and product will be crucial to grow over the next few years.
Start scaling your revenue and invest that profit back into your practice. Our guide below has everything you need.
Editor's Note: This post was originally published on March 23, 2016. It has been updated for relevance and richness of content on August 27, 2019.