By Benjamin S. Chudner, OD, FAAO
Senior Director, Eye Care – Optometric Development
Luxottica Retail Optical North America
Nov. 8, 2017
The power of brand gets patients through the door. It defines a practice by setting clear expectations. It connects you as an eyecare provider to the community. The far-reaching messaging on social media reinforces all this and plays an undeniable role in business growth and financial success. If you’re not thinking about brand, you should be.
At Luxottica Retail, we take brand-building seriously. A team of marketers work with our doctors to ensure our brand delivers on its reputation of quality service and products while highlighting their partnership with talented optometrists. It’s a win-win. Customers become patients. Patients become customers. In the end, the goal of each supports the other.
Being adjacent to a well-known and respected brand such as LensCrafters, LensCrafters at Macy’s or Target Optical allows an optometrist access to an existing customer base. This is especially key for new optometrists starting out who don’t have a full patient book to keep them and their staff busy.
Another benefit of partnership: Access to new technology and instrumentation that keeps your practice current and competitive. That’s why Luxottica Retail provides doctors with tools that they might not otherwise have. In LensCrafters locations, the Clarifye(SM) digital eye exam provides state-of-the-art measurements. Target Optical locations have Marco digital equipment.
With a sub-lease, optometrists can open their doors with little capital. Low start-up costs are critical since average student debt for new optometry graduates tops $150,000. Buying or launching a practice without a built-in patient base, without marketing and branding support and without access to new technology makes this path financially risky for many young ODs.
Not only does Luxottica Retail provide this backup; it essentially offers a menu of brand, so that the OD can select the experience he or she wants. These could range from a part-time Sears or Target situation to a licensed operator at Pearle or a leaseholder at LensCrafters, which operates as an independent practice.
There’s no limit to the mix-and-match opportunities. I’ve seen ODs grow from one practice setting to another as they gain confidence in the business of eyecare.
Affiliation allows optometrists to participate in global vision clinics with OneSight, the charity arm of Luxottica Retail that brings eyecare to under-served areas around the world. I traveled to Tanzania in June with OneSight and 25 students from several schools and colleges of optometry. Having the opportunity to help the world see better through charitable works reinforces why many chose to become eye doctors.
Benjamin S. Chudner, OD, FAAO, is Senior Director, Eye Care – Optometric Development, Luxottica Retail Optical North America.