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Wednesday / May 22.
HomemifashionThe Complete Eyewear Experience: Packaging Your Practice Brand

The Complete Eyewear Experience: Packaging Your Practice Brand

Everybody knows that today eyewear is about much more than eye protection and vision correction. It’s about creating a fashion statement.

It stands to reason then that how a person carries their eyewear and how they clean the lenses when in public is an extension of that statement.

Herein lies the opportunity to not just ‘sell’ eyewear, but to provide your customers with an ‘experience’ that makes them feel great about the purchase. Presentation counts.

Your packaging and accessories can provide a level of luxury that adds value and increases sales… and if those accessories carry your brand name, they will continue to build awareness of your practice, long after the customer has left the store.

She pulls out her specs case, which is embossed with her optometrist’s logo, opens it up and takes out a lens cloth, printed with a photographic image of the optom’s high street practice…

There’s no doubt about it – eyewear accessories are big. I didn’t realized just how big until the beginning of this year when I traversed the aisles upon aisles dedicated to them at the 13th Shanghai International Optics Fair in China. Brightly coloured spec cases – made from all manner of materials – in shapes ranging from the traditional oblong hard case and slim-line rectangular soft shell, right through to sequined numbers, cases emblazoned with popular animated characters and even cases that resembled miniature designer handbags.

Lens cloths, too, were there in their multiples – from plain colours ready to be screen-printed with the logo of an optical retailer through to cloths printed using highly sophisticated technology with landscapes, masterpieces, patterning… Then there were chains, strings, and pendants, both traditional and contemporary, contact lens cleaning cases with 3D characters protruding from the screw tops, and more.

So what does all this tell us?

Consumers see their eyewear accessories as an extension of their eyewear and therefore as an extension of their personality.

Including a complimentary high quality accessory with the sale of a high priced pair of specs or sunnies will add value to the purchase and leave your customer in no doubt that your level of service is well ahead of the rest.

Additionally, offering accessories that appeal to your customers’ preferences for style, colour and so on, can bring passers-by in off the street, even when they’re not looking to buy specs. They’ll look, perhaps make a small purchase of a low cost, high margin item… and hopefully come back soon after to buy the frame they spotted while they were with you.

Take the Opportunity

It’s not all about pleasing the customer. Selling accessories can help build awareness of your practice in an indirect way too, which in turn can bring more business through the doors.

Consider the scenario. A glamorous young woman sits with a small circle of friends in a café, beachside, sporting a brand new frame designed by one of Australia’s more exclusive independent eyewear designers. The eyewear is sold in a select few practices around the country. She pulls out her spec case, which is embossed with her optometrist’s logo, opens it up and takes out a lens cloth, printed with a photographic image of the optom’s high street practice. She wipes the sea spray from her lenses and tucks the glasses back into the case. She doesn’t carry a handbag, so she leaves the case on the table.

If yours was the practice with its logo emblazoned on that case, you’d have to agree, the value of that outdoor advertising opportunity was immeasurable – yet the financial outlay miniscule.
Need we say more?

The Practical Reality

If you’re not already sold on the value of offering customers branded eyewear accessories, consider the practicalities. As an optometrist who cares about their practice and wants their patients to enjoy the very best visual experience, you’re probably keen to encourage them to take care of their eyewear purchase. Storing their specs or sunnies in a protective case, hanging them around their neck when they’re not wearing them, cleaning the lenses with a lens cloth – as opposed to a towel, shirt, hem of a t-shirt or a tissue – are all sensible ways to ensure the longevity of the purchase.

How to Choose

With such a plethora of accessories on the market, the choices can be overwhelming. Before you head off to the next trade fair – and there are a few coming up – take a look at the customers coming through your door. Check out their handbags, wallets and clothing choices to get an idea of their style preferences. Ask them about the types of accessories they’d find useful and make a note of their responses.

Armed with a clear picture of your typical customer, make your choices. Then work with a graphic designer or the accessory supplier to determine how you can best apply your branding to maximise the look of the finished product and maximise your exposure.