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Tuesday / June 25.
HomemifashionFrames that Fight Back

Frames that Fight Back

There is no doubt that every optometry practice can strategically use low cost, quality frames to beat the competition and increase revenue. As well as satisfying the demands of customers working to a tight budget, a low cost frame can be used to close the sale on a luxury frame, or provide the incentive a customer needs to buy a second pair for the first time. The trick is to use them strategically, and not to make them the sole focus of your sales pitch.

These days, two for one offers are ubiquitous and increasingly influential when it comes to consumer decision-making. How often have you been in the supermarket and bought two packets of Tim Tams instead of one – even though you’re supposedly watching your waistline (or was that waste-line) – because of the discount loaded on the second packet.

How often have you taken two kids to buy two pairs of runners – even though only one pair is really required right now – because the second pair comes at half the retail price.

And then there are the standard two for one frame offers promoted by corporate optometry practices.

Remember that customers always ‘make the second and final decision’, because it is their money and their future at stake…

As an independent practice, its time to get in on the action – but that doesn’t mean you have to throw out your quality frames and focus on the cheapies.

Success Comes when you Down Sell…

If your practice is in a high net worth area, it’s probably best to hide the low cost frames away and bring them out on a case by case basis (pardon the pun) once you’ve exhausted all other options with your customer.

If you’re in a low socio demographic area, then include a selection of budget frames with your main display to demonstrate that you cater to all needs. But again, only recommend them once you’ve exhausted all other higher quality, higher cost options. After all, as the optometrist it’s in your interest to sell the very best possible eye care and eyewear to every customer.

As business consultant, and mivision contributor, John Lees says, “to succeed we must learn to ‘work backwards’ from what is right for the market, irrespective of whether customers and prospects agree with our ideas and recommendations or not.

“This is the professional approach to selling, and if we call it ‘down-selling’ it will mean that we will start with the best solution and then face the fact that we may have to come down from that point…due to the fact that some customers may not be able to afford the best outcome, or because they prefer to proceed in a different way.

“Remember that customers always ‘make the second and final decision’, because it is their money and their future at stake…however we must make the first decision, which concerns our commitment to offer the very best and most practical advice to reach the optimal result.”

John Lees says that to successfully ‘down-sell’, “it is necessary to listen to what customers want, ask questions to find their needs, and then explain that you will start with the best solution and leave the decision up to them as to what they decide to do in the end. Customers and prospects look up to those who sell down!”

The Second Pair Offer

For many customers, the idea of owning a selection of frames they can choose from according to the event, wardrobe or mood, is highly desireable, yet financially prohibitive. You can take advantage of this desire by bundling higher priced frame sales with a second low cost pair of specs. This type of offer may be just the incentive your customer needs to shift them across the line – without beginning the downward spiral of discounting prices on your premium products.

I guarantee you, this type of offer would get my best friend over the line on an expensive purchase. She works in fashion and beauty, so she always has to look great. And, there’s no way she will meet up with the same industry colleague twice without changing her image. So, every few months, she’s tempted to buy yet another frame, in another shape, size and colour to suit the season. It stands to reason – a collection of in-expensive frames, alongside her designer specs, would be ideal to suit her needs.

Along with the fashion angle, there are plenty of other reasons why a customer can benefit from taking home a second frame. One is pure convenience. Personally, I’m hopelessly disorganised, especially in the morning when I’m juggling kids’ school needs, the dog, an exercise regime and the need to get off to work looking at least remotely presentable. So, the thought of leaving a pair of glasses, with lenses suited to computer work and internal meetings, would be particularly welcome.

So too would be the idea of having reading specs sitting beside the bed so that when I finally clamber in between the sheets, late at night, having left my handbag downstairs, I can still pick up a book and read a few pages before I drift into dreamland.

Another reason for owning a second pair, that costs (much) less than the first, is simply so that I can relax about wearing glasses. Again, being disorganised, I’m highly likely to walk out of home or the office, or climb out of the car, with my glasses on, but no case. Then, when I take them off, I have to hold them delicately, or find some fabric to wrap them in, before placing them gently and safely in a spot where they wont be scratched… If only I had a cheap pair that I could toss into my handbag, leave on the dashboard or wear when I’m out running – without a care for whether or not they suffer a small scratch.

My kids have grown up now, and thanks to the magazine I write for and all the issues we discuss, they understand the need to handle glasses with care. However for my sister-in-law it’s a very different story. Thanks to the antics of her three terrors, she is constantly replacing specs that have had the arms pulled off or the lenses dragged along the paving. These days she refuses to buy anything that costs more than $100 – yet I know very well, she’s dreaming about the sensational looking frame she’ll buy as soon as the terrors are under control.

No Gap Spectacles

Second pair offers are not the only reason for stocking quality, low cost frames. One of the biggest reasons for holding a stash in the drawer is to meet the expectations that Private Health Funds have built among their members.

No Gap spectacles are heavily promoted by Private Health Funds and consequently, many members of the community expect to walk in to an optometry practice, have their eyes tested for free under Medicare and receive a free pair of specs from their health fund.

Newcomers and Budget Buyers

Additionally, emerging presbyopes, who, until now, have never had to pay for glasses, and only need vision assistance for certain activities, can also be ideal candidates for low cost frames. Isn’t it better that they’re looking through low cost prescription specs rather than a AU$25 pair of ready reckoners… or worse still nothing to help their vision. Which is exactly what another friend of mine did.

She finds she only needs her glasses to read fine print – which she doesn’t often have the need to read – especially with the advent of smart technology and its ability to increase the font size. That’s fine for her but not for me. Every time we head out to a restaurant, I have to read the menu to her – often several times over… and slowly, so she can work out what to order.

Then there’s a friend who spends most of his time at a PC but on the odd occasion when he’s driving, has issues seeing into the distance. A low cost frame – fitted with decent lenses – could be just what he needs to keep himself and others safe on the road!

Endless Possibilities

Ahhh, the possibilities are endless – so whether you choose to have them tucked away in a drawer, on display as part of your regular stock, or heavily promoted to incentivise high level sales, make sure you make the most of the advantages low cost specs can deliver. And whatever you do, only stock the very best quality – the last thing your practice needs is disgruntled customers returning for repairs every week.