By Ashley K. McFerron, OD
Sept. 20, 2017
Your fiercest rivals for contact lens sales–comprising a $700 million online U.S. marketplace, and becoming more competitive every day–are just a click or tap away.
Finding ways of retaining current sales and capturing new ones by offering a comparably easy way for patients to get their contacts is essential. Practices that fail to make ordering as easy as online retailers will quickly lose that revenue. Patients also may miss out on the reliability they’ve come to expect from their local practice, which means receiving fresh lenses on time in order to keep their eyes healthy and comfortable.
For all those reasons, my practice began using LensFerryTM this year. LensFerryTM is a multi-channel commerce solution, designed to keep contact lens patients in fresh lenses whenever they need them, and allowing them to purchase in the most convenient way.
As Simple as Texting “Order”
LensFerryTM is a secure, cloud-based commerce solution that easily syncs with your EHR, allowing staff to save time, automate messages and ultimately grow patient satisfaction and your business.
At any time and from anywhere, a patient can order contacts in a matter of seconds by either texting “Order” to 323OrderCL or going online.
Once a month, our practice gets a check for purchases made through LensFerryTM, which is the same amount that we would receive if the lenses were purchased in the office, including the shipping fees. We are able to make patients’ lives easier with how they conveniently pay for and receive their contacts, while maintaining–and even growing–contact lenses as a practice profit center.
Keep Patients & Win Back Those Who Walked
In today’s digital world, patients often think about shopping around for lower prices online when their supply starts to dwindle. With LensFerryTM, patients are sent a reminder from their doctor at just the right time so they don’t need to shop around.
Calculated by LensFerry’s artificial intelligence algorithm, patients automatically receive timely “1-click away” re-order messages. With that pinpoint timing and ease of use, your sales potential soars, eclipsing desires to comparison shop online.
Some of our patients only wear contacts part-time, purchasing just two to three boxes of daily disposables at once. These patients are especially prone to buying supplies elsewhere throughout the year. The automated reminders pushed to their phones, and the ability to reorder by just tapping a texted link, makes buying all their contacts from us an effortless choice.
Set It & Forget It
Texting “order” after receiving an automatically-generated message is easy, yet LensFerryTM has an option to make it even simpler. Patients are able to sign up for a subscription service, with monthly payments and automatic, on-time shipments of the contact lenses to their door.
From favorite foods to household staples, subscription services are the future of retail. Consumers get a product they need on an ongoing basis, and don’t have to pay for it all at once–what’s not to like?
In fact, the more than $5 billion subscription industry has been growing at 200 percent annually since 2011, with over 10,000 different subscription-based services now in play. Amazon Prime, Blue Apron, Birchbox and Netflix are no strangers to you and your patients.
With that in mind, it only seemed natural to add a contact lens subscription service to our practice. LensFerryTM allows patients to pay a monthly fee to receive an ongoing supply of contact lenses. Patients receive their lenses at the specific times they need them, while you – the doctor who prescribed and fit them – receive 100 percent of the revenue.
Drive Daily Disposable & Specialty CL Sales
LensFerryTM is well received by all patients, but especially those who have higher costs, e.g., people without insurance, and daily disposable and toric wearers. With 60 percent of my contact lens patients in daily disposables, the opportunity to pay for the lenses month-by-month, rather than all at once, makes it easier for many to purchase the contacts I have prescribed.
Save Staff Time & Enhance Office Efficiency
Not only is it more convenient and affordable for patients to receive contacts via LensFerryTM; it’s a great way to save staff resources. Before, staff would spend time on the phone or online with patients, taking contact lens orders and then manually submitting them. They’d then make phone calls to contact lens vendors to check on the status, and when the order came in, they would call the patient. That easily adds up to 30 minutes per patient.
Instead of inputting orders and having a phone to their ears, my staff can better assist patients and help them with their selection of eyewear.
In weekly staff meetings, we discuss how to best educate patients about the importance of adhering to their lens replacement regimens, and how purchasing from us via LensFerryTM can help ensure they always have fresh lenses on time. We want patients to know that they have an easy, affordable way to receive all the contacts they will need throughout the year.
Help Marketing Contact Lenses
In addition to providing patients and practices with a convenient way to order contacts, LensFerryTM helps my practice market the lenses we sell with ads placed on Facebook. Our patients and their friends see our practice name, and the message that our office is a place they can come for the contacts they need–and can get them easier and more affordably than at any of our competitors.
On Budget, On Time and On Trend
The cost of LensFerryTM was paid for with the patient that ordered on the first day we began offering it.
The world around us is changing at a lightning pace, and our patients are expecting the same type of ease and reliability they receive from other online businesses. LensFerryTM has brought us the ability to deliver contact lenses on budget, on time and on trend with digital advancements such as text-to-order and subscriptions, plus freed our staff for other patient-focused activities. It adds up to a happier team, more satisfied patients and growing revenue, helping us confidently take on any and all competitors.