By Ryan Parker, OD
Feb. 7, 2018
A practice’s optical is a major profit center, usually accounting for more than half of the practice’s revenues. If you are able to sell a greater number of higher-priced, high-end frames, you will make your optical even more profitable, thanks to the higher profit margins of those products.
In our practice, we have achieved success in selling high-end frames through effective marketing, special displays and transparency on pricing.
Frame Selection, by Price Range
We have experienced success in selling higher-end frames, but we have frames of all different price ranges. It breaks down like this:
35 percent: $50-$100
13 percent: $101-$150
25 percent: $151-$200
13 percent: $201-$250
4 percent: $251-$300
2 percent: $301-$350
8 percent: $350 or higher
We’re based in rural Oklahoma, so high-end for us is any frame that is around $350, or more. The high-end brands we sell include Jimmy Crystal, Kate Spade, Coach, Juicy Couture, State Optical, Nike and Oakley.
Talk Relationship Between Lenses & Frames in Exam Room
Prescribing from the exam chair in my practice sometimes includes a discussion of frame brands. Most of the energy should be placed on lens technology because the quality of vision has a more direct relationship with lens technology than frames, but in some cases, if patients have struggled with issues with lower-end frames, prescribing a high-end frame may provide a better overall experience.
Promote Multiple Purchases
I have noticed that on our multiple-pair discounts a high-end frame is often purchased because we offer a discount on the second job, usually around 50 percent. We’re now in the process of a buy-one-get-one deal on the lenses. If the patient buys premium lens they get a second pair of lenses at no charge. They still have to purchase the frames, and many times they are using high-end frames because that is the only cost with the second pair.
We like to display high-end frames in separate jewelry-like cases, or if not in a special display case, then on a frame board at eye level.
Market High-End Frames on Social Media
The best response in marketing our higher-end frames has been achieved using social media, especially posting pictures of the frames on staff members, or, with their authorization, photos of our patients wearing new frames purchased from us. This effective marketing tool is also great because it doesn’t cost us anything other than time to take the photo and post it to our practice Facebook page.
We also have hosted trunk shows in our office that spotlight higher-end brands with special promotions from the vendors.
To market high-end brands to our Millennial patients, we’ve found that the stories we tell about those brands are more important than the name of the brands. So, we might create a display that tells the story of the family behind an independent brand, or tells the story behind how a particular frame is made, or gives a sense of how the frame could be made a part of the patient’s lifestyle.
Use EHR to Identify & Market to Higher-Spending Patients
We market to patients who consistently purchase high-end frames, and to the patients that are in the top 15 percent of spending in the office. We do this by sending e-blasts to just these higher-spending patients with news of our higher-priced merchandise.
With many patients you can tell they like name brands by noticing what they wear, especially their shoes. But, at the same time, I have learned in practice to never pre-judge a patient’s desire, and ability, to purchase. We have trained our optical team to have every patient try on, or at least feel, the difference of a high-end frame. For instance, our State Optical line from Europa is handmade in the U.S., and when you try on this line, you can tell the difference, the quality is amazing.
Be Transparent in Pricing
We clearly display the price of all frames. Customers like transparency in pricing. When you don’t show the price, it looks like you’re hiding something from them, which you kind of are. High-end frames cost more for a reason, and I believe openly displaying that price is a good practice. The key is then explaining why it costs more, and what the patient gets for their money.