Practice Management

3 Ways to Create the Kind of Office Where Patients will WANT to Buy Eyewear

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By ROB Editors

Your patients want to buy from you–if you have both an eyewear selection and optical that works for them.

John Bonizio, owner of Metro Optics Eyewear, a five-location optical in Bronx, New York, says that another way of phrasing the capture rate question is by asking, “Where would you want to buy your eyewear?”

“Someone may have a great experience with the doctor, see all this fabulous equipment and receive a truly comprehensive exam. But then patients come out of that space and see a few display boards with middle-of-the-road offerings, not frames they see themselves wearing. Immediately, they’re unsure. And when people are unsure, they delay the decision,” he says.

For practices like that in the New York City area, frankly, their loss is Bonizio’s gain. “Customers walk in here, after easily finding a place to park in the 600-spot lot, and see 2,400 square feet of display space with towers of eyewear, hand us their Rx and ask if we I can fill it. I laugh and say, ‘Sure.’” Bonizio says his capture rate—the percentage of patients who get a prescription there or walk in with an Rx and out with an order for eyewear—is about 99 percent.

“The truth of the matter is that this industry is a hybrid of a professional/retail animal,” he says. That means that business owners need to pay equal attention to the professional and retail portions of the business. In his most recent location, Bonizio built a 5,100-square-foot space, with almost half of that dedicated to the dispensary. There’s also a 600-square-foot lab, three exam lanes and a contact lens room. When people enter a building, they see the brand displays: Chanel, Cartier, Gucci, Cazal, Dita, sportswear and electronic eyewear. On the opposite wall are the sunwear brands people seek out: Oakley and Ray-Ban. Along the long wall between these two are the “bread-and-butter” frames, and specially designed Coach, CK and Celine towers among others that also line the walkway.

 CareCredit point-of-sale material, which practices can display in-office to educate patients about the opportunity to use the CareCredit credit card.

Here are three ways Bonizio says your optical can be improved to make it more likely that patients make a purchase:

Encourage Browsing: Indeed, Bonizio’s design of the optical almost mimics a sidewalk. “The carpeting is designed to lead people through the optical. It’s a neutral black and grey, but in the middle is a black walkway that leads people to the sales area and reception desk, where they’re greeted. People don’t walk in and walk back out because they immediately have a sense of where they should go.”

Mention Financing Options: Bonizio knows that not every patient may have the cash on hand to purchase a designer pair of frames. So there’s merchandising near the Cartier case, for example, that explains the CareCredit credit card option. “When patients realize that they can purchase what they want and take advantage of promotional financing terms, that’s very attractive,” he says.

Upgrade Managed Vision Care Allowance: Bonizio and the staff make sure that they tell patients that their managed vision care provides them with an allowance that they can use to upgrade to any frame. “That way, they start thinking about the upgrade, not ‘what my insurance covers for free.’”

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