Plano Sunwear Sales: Take Eight Steps to Success

By Stuart J. Thomas, OD,and Ellen Byrum-Goad, LDO

Sept. 9, 2015


Improving plano sunwear sales requires a plan: set goals, motivate staff, utilize displays in-office and use social media to reach patients.


TRACK, SET GOALS, MOTIVATE STAFF. Track how much sunwear you sold last year, then set goals, offering an incentive or commission for each pair sold.

CREATE ACTION PLAN. Include actions like displaying plano sunwear and plano sunwear marketing materials throughout the office, even in the bathroom.
PROMOTE ON SOCIAL MEDIA. Promote plano sunwear sales, and ask for feedback on which new plano sun styles patients would like to see in your optical.

Selling plano sunwear poses a set of challenges. You must educate patients on why they should buy plano sunwear–and why they should buy it from you. The best approach is a team effort. First, have the doctor discuss the importance of sun protection in the exam room. Second, have the optical team reinforce that message, while providing patients with options that excite them. Further, you must display plano sunwear throughout your office. Finally, reaffirm that message online, using  social media to let patients know of the products and special deals you offer. If you complete all of these steps, you make buying sunglasses easy.
Over the past year, we have set a plan in motion that assertively tells patients about sunwear options and benefits, and we’ve incentivized our staff to sell more sunwear. It’s worked well: We sold as many pairs of sunwear in the first half of this year as we sold all of the previous year.

Sunwear options shown on the home page of Dr. Thomas’ and Byrum-Goad’s practice web site. Dr. Thomas and Byrum-Goad say it is important for the doctor to talk about plano sunwear in the exam room, for the opticians to reinforce the message, and to display sunwear prominently throughout the office, and online.

Track Past Record; Set Goals

For the entire year of 2014, we sold 29 pairs. Simply abysmal. While we began tracking plano sunwear in 2014, we never did anything with the data.

In 2015, we set a goal on plano sunwear of five pairs of plano sunwear sold per month. If five plano suns were sold per month, each of our two opticians would receive a $25 bonus, meaning a bonus of $5 per pair sold. So far, for the first half of  2015, we have already sold what took us the whole year last year to sell. We sold 29 pairs of plano sunwear during the first half of 2015.

We post in our office which staff members hit our plano sun goals, and who doesn’t, so there is a competitive factor spurring our opticians on. Those who like to help others succeed may not be motivated by the bonus, but they care enough about their teammates’ success that they help with the plano sun sales, as well.

The average price of our plano sunwear to date for 2015 is $197 per pair, on average. We would love to get to 10 pairs a month for a gross of an extra $2,000 per month, adding up to $24,000 per year. For us, this is a very slow process! Painful, actually.

We sell eight brands of sunwear of varying price range: Maui Jim, Costa, Kate Spade, Rayban, Michael Kors, Tory Burch, CK and Tiffany. At our first of the month financial staff meeting, we look at, hold, and otherwise examine, the best-selling frames, including plano sunwear. We may decide then to add greater variety, such as a greater selection of color, and we also make sure we have a one-frame back stock, so we can immediately re-board each frame.

A post on Dr. Thomas’s and Byrum-Goad’s practice Facebook page asking for patients to give feedback on sunwear options. Dr. Thomas and Byrum-Goad say they use Facebook to show off the sunwear they sell, offer promotional deals, and to show patients (with their permission) posing in their new sunwear.

Create Action Plan

Talk sunwear. While doing confirmation calls, we ask patients to bring in their indoor glasses, sunglasses and list of medications. This puts the idea of sunglasses in their head.

Offer sunwear credits. If a patient is coming in for a contact lens exam, at front desk check in they are told that with an annual supply they get a $50 credit toward a pair of plano sunglasses.

Focus on the optical handoff. We’re trying to remember to have the doctor walk every single patient (unless we are referring to OMDs) to the optical gallery to give our opticians the opportunity to go over insurance benefits and sale specials.

Use POP. On the back of the exam doors there is a framed picture of sunwear to keep it at the top of the patient’s mind.

Advertise sun deals in the contact lens area. Our contact lens insertion and removal training area has signage about sales on plano suns, including our $50 off on plano sunwear with an annual supply purchase.

Even advertise plano sun In the bathroom. In the bathroom, there are plexiglass holders with photos of beautiful people wearing sunwear – and the “savings” we offer on sunwear.

Demonstrate polarization. When talking to patients, our opticians demonstrate polarization. They are not allowed to just talk about it. They have to demonstrate it using a Maui Jim demonstrator – the best!

Offer plano sun specials. When a person buys a complete pair of glasses, and they don’t want to take us up on a second-pair of Rx lenses, we offer a pair of planos with a $25 savings.

Display Plano Sunwear Prominently

In the reception area we have two small EyeDesign curios with sunwear. There are also four EyeDesign frames with sunglasses on them. People sit for brief periods and see them. In the contact lens training area, there are a few plano sunwear pairs in an Eye Design Versa Wall unit. This is a stopping point for all contact lens exams. In the optical gallery, plano sunwear are intermingled with existing ophthalmic frames.

Also, watch how you display the sunwear in your optical. Turn the frame so the temple treatment can show, and give access, so browsing patients can touch and feel and try on.

Promote Plano Sunwear On Social Media

Facebook, Twitter and Instagram have driven the most plano sells for us. We post and tweet something about plano sunwear daily. Our Facebook plano sunwear giveaways have large responses. Think About Your Eyes Campaign has our plano sunwear specials listed (for around $300), and our web site also has our plano sunwear specials advertised.

In addition to our social media promotions, we run radio ads advertising plano sunwear, and when patients purchase plano suns from us, we encourage them to send their friends and family for sunglasses, too.

Stuart J. Thomas, OD, is the owner of Thomas Eye Center in Athens, Ga. Ellen Byrum-Goad, LDO, is practice manager. To contact:







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