Price and convenience are the two key concerns of patients when they decide where to purchase their contact lenses, according to Jobson Optical Research’s 2012 Contact Lens Wearers Insight Survey. Three-quarters of respondents (74.3 percent) bought their contact lenses at a physical retail location and 17.1 percent of respondents made their most recent contact lens purchase on the internet. Of those who purchased their most recent contact lenses on the internet, almost two-thirds (65.5 percent) said did they so because online retailers charge less. One-third (34.08 percent) of respondents said they were very or somewhat likely to make their next contact lens purchase on the internet. The two most frequently cited reasons that respondents chose the location where they bought their most recent pair of contact lenses were convenience (63.1 percent) and price (47.9 percent).
Are contact lens prescriptions walking out your door? Here’s the formula to keep those dollars in your practice. It boils down to price and convenience.
Let’s consider price. The price to purchase lenses over the internet is not just the published price. It can include membership fees, shipping and handling plus the lens fees. Do some research to find out what the exact cost is, then create a chart that shows patients what it actually costs to purchase lenses over the internet. Research has shown that as long as your fees are within 7 percent of the cost of purchasing contact lenses over the internet, most–not all–patients will stay with you.
Now let’s consider convenience. If I am your patient, can I purchase contact lenses from you at 8 pm? If not, then you are pushing me toward someone who can. A top priority for you is to make it easy for your patients to do business with you. When you make it easy for your patients to do business with you, then that helps keep your patients loyal to you. In today’s connected world, you simply must have an internet solution giving your patients a way to buy contact lenses from you 24 hours a day.
Your action plan this week is to:
1. Review your contact lens pricing. Make sure your fees are within 7 percent of internet pricing.
2. Implement an internet solution so patients can purchase contact lenses from you 24 hours per day.
3. Educate patients about your price and convenience solutions to contact lenses.