By Chad Fleming, OD
Nov. 3, 2021
Independent practices face pressure from online retail and corporate-owned eyewear chains, and struggle with low reimbursements from managed vision care. With so much pressure, a comprehensive optical management system that does not tie up practice money on frames while waiting for inventory to sell is a huge plus.
Fortunately, my practice has such a system with Twelve84, a full-service eyewear program with impressive quality and a cohesive brand look. It allows your practice to offer a frame and lenses package at a highly competitive retail price while keeping a comfortable profit margin for yourself.
A Seamless System with No Need for My Practice to Pay Until Complete Pairs are Sold
Twelve84 works via a nominal subscription fee in which your practice gets a display kit of 40 styles in up to three colors each. When a patient tries on a frame and wants to purchase the package, it is ordered using Twelve84’s private label ophthalmic lenses and lab. It is only after that point of sale to the patient that the doctor pays the wholesale cost for the complete pair of eyewear.
Simple Frame Board Management
With Twelve84, you never have empty spots on your frame board with products that need to be reordered that take thousands of dollars out of your cash flow. The entire collection is fully stocked at the lab, eliminating any inventory carrying costs for your practice, and it keeps your board looking complete. Staff saves time never having to ship frames to the lab for the glasses to be made. Since the lab already has all the frames in stock that are featured in my office, there is no need for us to send them anything.
Two clicks and a Twelve84 complete pair of eyewear has been ordered through the integration within our practice management system. We are able to track what patients have ordered from Twelve84 and when they can expect it back for pickup. The overall time that has been saved for staff is exponential.
Offer a Comprehensive Private Label Brand
Patients in our office have the option of using their managed vision care benefit to buy eyewear with frames and lenses from well-known brands. Another option, which is more appealing for many of our patients, is Twelve84. We compare the price the patient will pay purchasing a traditional frame and lens with their managed vision plan, and then show them how it prices out with Twelve84.
A patient can get a complete pair of single-vision from Twelve84 for $149 or a full pair of progressives for $249. It has been an easy conversation for patients to jump up to the better package for an additional $100, getting nicer optics with a Trivex or 1.67 lens and top-level AR or Blue Light.
I start the conversation in the exam room with the patient: “I believe you would be a great fit for our complete in-house brand, Twelve84. Our opticians will tell you more about it after the exam is complete, including the great value–and great product–you can get from this bundled line of frames and lenses.”
An increasing number of patients indicate they are ready to walk with their prescription or forego getting new glasses altogether. Rather than cannibalizing more profitable sales, having the Twelve84 option enables you to diversify your price points, so you avoid leaving money on the table from lost sales.
Twelve84 keeps people in your office to have the eyewear conversation after the exam. If they believe that all your merchandise is out of their acceptable price range, they often feel that they are being pressured by the doctor and optical staff to purchase something they can’t afford. An easy and affordable bundled offering like Twelve84 shows that you offer more than just the well-known, and often expensive, brand-name frames and lenses.
The ability to keep the conversation going with patients, and keep more sales from walking out the door, has resulted in a 25 percent year-over-year net revenue in the optical for the last three years. Our different offices have varying demographics and needs, but each one sells at least 20-30 pairs of Twelve84 on average per month and it goes straight to our bottom line as added profit.
Give Patients Affordable Quality Progressives
Some 31.5 percent of glasses wearers are buying progressives, according to The Vision Council, but Twelve84 boasts 40 percent of its buyers wearing progressives. That suggests an increase in the repurchasing cycle for progressive wearers. With Twelve84, a patient can pay as little as $249 for a complete pair of progressives or at most $499 to include 1.67 photochromic lenses. The practice maintains a healthy net margin of 60-67 percent on all transactions.
We have no more non-adapts with Twelve84 progressives than we do with other progressive lenses. However, for the rare cases when there is a progressives non-adapt, Twelve84 offers remakes to the practice at no additional charge for the first 90 days after a pair of Twelve84 progressives have been dispensed. For all eyewear, practices are given a two-year warranty on glasses purchased from Twelve84, with the practice having the freedom to decide if it wants to offer that same warranty to patients.
For these reasons, Twelve84 is a great hit in our office with both younger and older patients. Many of our older patients, who are on a fixed income, may have passed on getting a new pair of glasses without the Twelve84 option.
Maintain Your Competitive Edge
If you’re going to remain competitive in a consolidating eyecare market, you need to continue looking for ways to bring great products at competitive prices to patients. Inflation is going up, but doctor reimbursements are not. An all-inclusive frame and lenses option like Twelve84, which allows you to keep substantial practice funds free while capturing sales you might otherwise have lost, is an effective way to serve patients while empowering long-term profitability.