By Steven Faith, OD
June 16, 2021
Anything that gives an independent optometrist a way to better serve patients while gaining an edge in today’s competitive optical marketplace is invaluable. Fortunately, we have added a resource to our practice that is making it easier and more convenient for patients to shop our optical offerings.
Give Patients a Better Way to “Window Shop”
Patients often like to preview an OD’s optical merchandise prior to making an appointment for an exam. If the eyewear sold in the office is unappealing, they reason, why bother going there to get their eyes checked? They can always choose another office with both a good doctor and a good selection of eyewear.
My Frame Gallery gives us a simple and effective way to showcase for patients what they will find when they get to our office. We are able to customize our Gallery with the specific frames I carry, my logo, hours, location and even welcome messaging. Populating our Gallery is especially easy as My Frame Gallery is powered by Frames Data’s comprehensive, up-to-date frame and image library.
We had been using an online frame eyewear gallery and product catalog for many years before My Frame Gallery became available. The original inspiration was the online ordering and direct-shipping of our contact lens orders for patients. We currently direct-ship nearly 90 percent of our contact lens orders to patients. Adding the ability for patients to at least view the eyewear products that we offer in our office was a natural extension of our expanding online presence.
Give Patients the Experience THEY Want
We had two main reasons for adding My Frame Gallery to our website and changing from our previous system. The first was to provide an online catalog showing exactly which product lines are available to patients to suit their individual needs. The second was to make the patient experience more efficient and convenient. From our work with ODLean Consulting in the past, we knew that our patient base prefers to be in and out of our office in no more 60 minutes.
We also found out that for every 10 minutes over the 60-minute mark that a patient was in our office, our revenue per patient reduced by $39. My Frame Gallery provides patients the ability to see which vendor partners we work with ahead of their visit and also review which styles and designs they might like to see during their visit. Making these decisions ahead of time makes patient visits to our office more efficient for both them and us.
A Cost-Efficient Solution that Allows You to Better Compete With Online Retailers
My Frame Gallery is an inexpensive way for us to show off our practice’s merchandise to current and prospective patients. The ability to tell patients that we have every frame brand or product available to view through our website gives our practice tremendous optical retail credibility with our consumers— and a reason for those consumers to visit our website. They can view every brand’s SKU that we carry and do it through our website and not the vendor’s retail site.
The financial ROI of My Frame Gallery is hard to track, but the “Return on Mental Investment (RMI)” has been incredible. We can comfortably tell patients we have everything they need on our website.
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The necessary back-end support for My Frame Gallery is minimal. There is a typical upgrade and downloading of product lists that our optical team performs from time to time, but the actual time managing the My Frame Gallery portion of our website is minimal, no more than 2-3 hours per week. My Frame Gallery is the least time-consuming aspect of our digital presence. Maintaining our practice website and social media accounts require more time. Training on using the back end of My Frame Gallery was simple. We have 2-3 people who are capable and responsible for the management of My Frame Gallery, along with our online contact lens ordering system.
Set the Stage for a Successful In-Person Visit
The ability in My Frame Gallery for patients to mark frames as “favorites”ahead of their visit is a significant benefit. It gives our staff a head start in helping patients zero in on the frame that is best for them.
Sometimes the favorites chosen by the patient do not align with the patient’s prescription and other visual needs. However, our staff is good at taking the “favorites” and using that information to guide the patient to something that might be more appropriate for their Rx or other optical needs – something that isn’t too large or too small for their facial features and which will work well with their prescription. Even given those challenges, most of the time at least one of the “favorites” is chosen as the patient’s final selection.
Our capture rate is typically over 70 percent. Since eyewear capture rate is a metric with multiple source factors, it is hard for us to gauge if My Frame Gallery, our staff, patient insurance, or other factors, are the largest contributors to our success. However, I can say that My Frame Gallery is an important part of the mix in helping us maintain and grow our eyewear capture rate.