Nine New Rules

After Bill Gerber, Creative Director of Optical Marketing Group, visited 7,000 optometrists’ practices he concluded that it’s time for a change in optical retailing. Here are his nine new rules:

1. Clutter Is Out. Clean Is In: Buying eyewear is an infrequent event for most. In order to make the experience as pleasurable and beneficial as possible, it’s imperative the location is impeccable, and all merchandise should be presented in a curated, easy to understand way.

2. Multiple Pair Sales Begin at the Exam: Progressive practices have learned from dentistry a written treatment plan from the OD will serve the patient’s true visual needs. The majority of opticians and ODs recently surveyed agreed that three pairs are what’s needed to satisfy the average patient needs, yet only 1 out of 8 is buying what they need. The absence of written treatment plans and support merchandising are the key culprits here.

3. Gender, Vendor and Lifestyle Signage Are Essential: According to research, less than 5 percent of optical retailers currently have proper signage throughout their facility, making the identification of specific areas and brands impossible. No retailer worth their salt would open their doors without effective signage. Why does this violation of common sense persist? Habit.

4. Be a Retail Storyteller: In all retail categories, storytelling is crucial to engagement. Simply putting out hundreds of frames is no longer enough. Patients want to know the backstory about specific designers, collections and creations. They want to become impassioned with the wonders of optics and design, and share these discoveries with friends and family.

5. Frameboards Are Out: Frameboards are an antiquated concept. Eyewear design has radically outpaced this display methodology. Frame details along with the individuality of each creation are diminished when lining up frames like solders on a wall.

6. Lighting…Lighting…Lighting: Bad lighting plagues optical. Take a cue from jewelry retailers, and light up the offering using the latest LED lighting technology. Good lighting will bring out the subtle detailing so prevalent in today’s eyewear and create a sense of well-being.

7. Digital Interaction Is Expected: Patients now expect tablets throughout the practice. They’re uber-effective for lens presentation, taking digital measurements and involving the patient in the buying process.

8. The Storefront: The majority of viewers see the front of a store from varying distances quite often only as a drive- by. It’s critical that the presentation is scaled appropriately with large format graphics.

9. Waiting Rooms Are…History: Progressive practices are now recognizing the value of eliminating all barriers between the optical space and the patient waiting area.
This article was written by Bill Gerber, Creative Director of Optical Marketing Group (