By James W. Bedsole, OD
and Joel Tuite, OD
Oct. 13, 2021
The optical dispensary can be a huge source of patient satisfaction and practice profitability—if it is well managed. With challenges ranging from inventory selection to how merchandise is displayed and marketed to patients, any resource that gives an independent OD an edge is invaluable.
That’s where the recently expanded optical services from IDOC come into play. The alliance is now offering enhanced Optical Consulting, strategic advice and analytical tools designed to increase retail sales in independent practices.
IDOC Optical Consulting is included in the dues for both Advisor and Select memberships and is now available for the first time to Essential members for a monthly service fee. Additionally, for the first time in its history, IDOC is offering this service for a monthly non-member fee to “clients,” practices without an IDOC membership, that wish to utilize this service.
Two optometrists shared with Review of Optometric Business how IDOC has guided the management of their optical, and how this guidance has made a significant difference to how well they are able to serve patients and increase profitability.
James W. Bedsole, OD
Dr. James W. Bedsole Eyecare
Pell City, Ala.
Finding the right mix of frames was a challenge for us. We wanted to offer patients a pleasing selection, one that would provide a variety of price points, but we also wanted to push further into the luxury product category. The question was how to do it to enhance profitability without sacrificing patient satisfaction.
Fortunately, we received great guidance from IDOC Optical Consultant Ximara Vega, ABOC. She encouraged, and showed us how, to add more higher-end frames to our office. This decision has resulted in patients who are even more impressed with our selection. That has, in turn, resulted in greater eyewear sales captured.
The great part about Ximara’s help is she doesn’t just suggest ways to make the optical better for patients and practice profitability; she takes us step by step in showing us how to do it. For instance, Ximara helps us rank and evaluate frame lines, so only the ones likeliest to generate a strong profit earn space on our frame board.
In addition, we receive Ximara’s and IDOC’s unparalleled help in creating an optical that maximizes profitability through effective budgeting and cost control. We have learned how to keep cost of goods down while enhancing optical selection for patients and expanding our practice’s branding to include high-end merchandise. We were able to achieve our goals without increasing our overhead costs. We now maintain a quarterly optical budget that informs our merchandise-spending decisions, ensuring we stay on track to generate a strong profit.
Ximara taught us how to manage vendors to create partnerships that work for both them and us. We are able to use our vendor reps as resources to make the success of their products in our office more likely.
We used to be on our own when management challenges arose in our optical. Now we have the expertise of Ximara and her colleagues at IDOC to help us navigate essential decisions. We arrive at solutions that enable us to provide a better experience for our patients and a financially stronger optical and practice for us.
The optical consulting we have received from Ximara has been such a great help we are planning to schedule Zoom meetings with other IDOC Optical consultants. There is a wealth of knowledge and capability at IDOC that takes the guesswork out of creating a successful optical.
Joel Tuite, OD
Hometown Eye Care
The resources provided by IDOC help our patients and optical profitability in myriad ways. This significantly increases our chances of serving patients well and boosting sales. Our practice utilizes many different IDOC Optical benefits, from contact lens discounts to discounts on lens materials, as we perform a lot of in-house edging.
When a challenge arises and I need guidance, IDOC is that irreplaceable tool that provides me the opportunity to speak with people who are far more knowledgeable than myself.
As our practice continues to grow, I have utilized IDOC’s consulting department to help us with our decision-making processes. For example, I have leaned heavily on the IDOC consulting team for office hiring strategies.
Practicing in a rural community, the biggest challenge we have faced in our optical is staffing. We want the best opticians to serve our patients, but those people are not easy to find. IDOC has a terrific consultation team that is available anytime to discuss strategies in finding qualified applicants for open positions, along with giving us advice on how best to retain the star employees already in our office.
In addition to helping us increase eyewear sales, IDOC aids us in maximizing profitability from contact lenses. Our monthly contact lens sales tracking through IDOC has been terrific in reminding us of our production goals and making sure we achieve those goals for maximum rebates.
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The help in creating an optical that is more impressive to patients, and more likely to build profitability, is complemented by IDOC’s expertise in marketing. We are able to work with IDOC Consultants to find the best ways to let our patients know all we can do for them. That means we have a topnotch optical to present to patients and the power to effectively let our community know that we have an incredible optical selection, and a great staff, to provide them with all they need.
Our patients leave our office with eyewear that improves their lives, and our practice is able to build an optical that contributes to our financial strength.
*Photo credit, top of page: Getty Images