By Anita Mizrachi,
May 16, 2018
Patients and passersby should see fresh merchandise that excites them every time they encounter your optical. My practice has created a system to ensure our inventory is always new and engaging.
Our optical has just 500-600 sq. ft. in which to display 1,200 frames, so we need to make the most of our space and present only the products most likely to sell.
Remove Unsold Frames After Three Seasons
We color-code our inventory with blue stickers for winter, pink for spring, yellow for summer, and gold for fall. Each time the seasons change, we pull merchandise that has been on the board for three seasons, and contact the reps, who sold us those frames to let them know they didn’t sell, and should be exchanged.
If blue stickers are for winter, and it’s now changing over to the winter season, I want to make sure I don’t already have merchandise with blue stickers that were placed on the board at the beginning of winter the previous year.
It’s Worth Giving It Up to Three Full Seasons
It’s hard to predict which merchandise will all of a sudden catch on. For example, one year we invested in one brand’s (Brand A) merchandise purchasing 12 frames, while we invested in half that number for another brand (Brand B). It took a few seasons to see that, though we invested in fewer of Brand B, that merchandise was selling far faster, while Brand A, which we thought would go fast, lingered on our board. It can take a full year before you get a sense of the sales patterns for your merchandise, and know for sure, which pieces are hopeless, and should be exchanged for new merchandise.
Let Patients Know What’s New
It’s not enough to refresh your merchandise; you also need to let your patients know you have new products in stock.
When new frames arrive, I work with the employee on our staff who does our social media promotions to look for links with photos of celebrities wearing similar frames. We then post those links, with an announcement of our new product, on our practice Facebook page.
In addition, every quarter of the year, we e-blast a newsletter to patients in which products that have just arrived for the new season are showcased.
Draw Attention to Specific Products In Your Optical
Part of keeping merchandise moving is creating excitement, and an added reason to make a purchase. For instance, around Valentine’s Day we might have a promotion in which every frame with glitter in its design is discounted and comes with a small box of chocolate.
Sometimes moving merchandise to make room for new, fresh products requires creating special displays, like showing the products on a small, decorated display table apart from the rest of the merchandise on the frame board.
Watch for Frame Fashions on Awards Shows
The glasses sometimes worn by the presenters at awards shows gives me ideas for new inventory to invest in, or inventory we already have in stock that can be promoted with footage of the celebrity I saw wearing the product.
For example, when Oprah Winfrey gave her now-famous speech at this year’s Golden Globe awards, I immediately noticed her distinctive black-frame cat’s eye glasses. I noted how well the frames fit her face shape and skin tone, and knew that many of our patients with similar features would look good in the same frame.
Glasses seen on awards show on celebrities with particular styles that match the styles of some of your patients can also be a good investment. For instance, Meryl Streep has been wearing glasses to awards shows in recent years. There’s a good chance that the same glasses that look so great on her might also interest other women with a similar style.