Melbourne optometry practice eyeclarity has been recognised as the BRW AMP Retailer of the Year in the category Innovation in Retail.
The prestigious award was announced at a spectacular Sydney retail awards evening in May.
Hundreds of retailers from around the country were nominated for the awards. Each nominee was ‘examined’ by mystery shoppers before being judged by a panel of experts that included Monash University business and economics Australian Director for retail studies Colin McLeod and former Woolworths Chief Executive and Fairfax Non Executive Chairman Roger Corbett. Jim Papas (pictured), who has developed the eyeclarity brand, which comprises five stores in Victoria, was thrilled to receive the award. “What has been great is that we have been recognised for developing a true innovation not just in optometry but also the much more competitive retail sector, which is good recognition for optometry as a whole,” he told mivision.
For the past year, his stores have housed a ‘myeyes’ touchscreen kiosk, which assists customers to choose eyewear to suit their lifestyle and needs. The kiosks do not require a TAFE educated dispenser to operate.
The industry had stopped training, so we went about to solve a business problem and developed the software which automates the dispensing process
Mr. Papas said that he developed the myeyes kiosk software five years ago because there were no trained dispensers to employ in the western suburbs of Melbourne. “The industry had stopped training, so we went about to solve a business problem and developed the software which automates the dispensing process,” he said.
“It is unique – there is nothing else like it in the world. It solves so many issues in dispensing and general retail.
“In optometry it enables non-technically trained staff to sell 90 per cent of prescriptions within eight weeks of training at a much higher added value lens sales than the industry averages consistently.”
Mr Papas says the kiosks provide a superior customer experience and enable his practices to provide a more consistent service across multiple locations.
“Consumers are often confused between the differences in eyewear products. The software effectively educates the consumer in the differences in eyewear and the different products available, which greatly assists in selling added value products. The results speak for themselves.
While the kiosks have improved retail sales efficiency, most importantly, they’ve contributed to prescription retention in a highly competitive environment, since their installation just 12 months ago. “Customers who walk in to get a prescription tend to buy glasses or contact lenses at the store rather than heading off to a low cost competitor – because they can instantly see that we have the solution that meets their needs,” he said.
Having invested so much in developing the product, Mr Papas has realised it has extensive application in many different environments. He is now looking to licence the software and says the technology is adaptable to other retail environments. “It works best for stores that sell products with a multitude of combinations and requirements – such as spectacles or mobile phones,” he said.