Many of the 61 per cent of people living in Australia and New Zealand, who require vision correction, could do with a pair of prescription sunglasses. For young and old, active or sedentary, the advantages of having a pair of Rxable sunglasses are obvious. They just need to be brought to the attention of your customers – who may not even be aware they exist – to prompt a sale.
Perhaps the biggest opportunity to make Rxable sunglasses a big part of your business lies in selling to the over 50s. The numbers speak for themselves: 81 per cent of 50 to 64 year olds require vision correction and 86 per cent of people over the age of 65 require vision correction1… and, these are the people who have the most time to spend outdoors.
As our population ages, the opportunities to sell Rxable sunglasses will only increase – today’s retirees are more active than ever before, and they’re mostly mortgage free, so they have a high disposable income to spend on lifestyle pursuits. A study conducted by Living in Australia, found that 52 per cent of retirees said they had “about the same standard of living as when they were working” and 21 per cent saw themselves as better off.2 And according to research conducted by the Reserve Bank of Australia, older households tend to spend proportionately more on essential services, such as health care, than younger households.3 Argument settled: and the take-home message? If you’re not already actively promoting Rxable sunglasses, you’re missing out on a large growth area.
Increasingly, quality sunglass brands, like Maui Jim, Serengeti and Rodenstock prefer to supply their frames fitted with their own proprietary lenses, ground and finished to your customer’s prescription in their factory before shipping them out. By applying the RX to the proprietary lens, the manufacturer can be sure each lens meets their established performance specification – whether that be a wide field of view, special tints, laminates etc. – and that the customer receives a product that looks and feels just like the frame they selected from the shelf.
…the biggest opportunity to make Rxable sunglasses a big part of your business lies in selling to the over 50s…
Additionally, because the lenses are made by the frame manufacturer, the process of finishing and fitting the lens to the frame is usually straightforward and can be achieved without compromising the integrity of the frame itself.
For the optical retailer, the advantages of ordering lenses direct from the frame manufacturer are clear. For starters, the process of ordering frames and lenses from the same manufacturer is simpler and more cost effective. Then there’s the fact that you don’t need to risk losing future sales by taking a frame off the shelf and sending it to a lab for lens fitting – the manufacturer will use warehouse stock to tailor the frame to meet your customer’s script. Additionally, with one supplier delivering the frame with lenses fitted, there is less time and expense involved in checking technical requirements, dispatching and managing multiple orders and invoices, and coordinating deliveries between manufacturer, lab and practice.
Finally, because many of the bigger companies with their own Rxable programs afford their own consumer marketing campaigns, much of the work has been done to promote a sale before your customer even walks through the door.
For customers who choose a frame manufactured by a company that does not have its own Rxable program, optometrists are still able to offer a great choice of high quality Rxable lenses. This is where lens manufacturers such as Rodenstock and Bonastar (both of which produce frames), Zeiss, Hoya and Essilor come into their own. These manufacturers are best equipped to produce quality lenses that can be fitted to almost any sunglass.
By going with an independent lens laboratory you can truly tailor the lens to meet your customer’s needs for vision, taking into account tints and field of view to suit their favoured activities, photochromic options and their complex prescriptions. While it may take a little more effort than going online to order the frame and lens from one company, your customer will thank you forever.
Fortunately, many frame manufacturers and lens laboratories are now working together to provide online B2B ordering systems that speed up processes and eliminate the need to coordinate frame and lens orders between suppliers.
The Eyes Right Optical Customer Portal lets optometry practices view products and stock availability then place an order for a frame and lens package. The frame is delivered to the lab of choice on the same day. Similarly GenOp, Opticare and JuzVision enable optometrists to place just one order for a complete frame and lens package.
Essilor offers customers Framelink for frame and lens orders, as well as Essilink for lens orders and the older Winlink – a desktop software program that is also available for ordering lenses. All are accessed through the Sunix Practice Management System.
Zeiss customers place their lens orders through an electronic ordering program connected to their Practice Management System that enables jobs to be started immediately. Zeiss fits lenses to frames sent into the lab or delivers them out to the practice ready for fitting.
Hoya offers HoyaLog, which is accessible via Sunix or Optomate, and comes with a 3D tracer as part of the deal. This enables the optometrist to present customers with a 3D graphic representation of the job they’re going to get and to explain the difference between one index lens and another higher index lens.
The ability to provide the customer with full information is an enormous advantage because, as optical dispenser Grant Hannaford points out “the patients with the most need to get a prescription pair of sunglasses are the ones with quite high powers.” That means when it comes to guiding a customer to sunglasses made by manufacturers with or without Rxable programs, “the selection process (can be) limited by the very lens powers themselves… the crux is to identify what the patient wants and what the patient needs.
“It does no individual supplier any good to have their product poorly or inappropriately dispensed as it reduces the market goodwill of both the product and supplier.”4
Ultimately, as an eye care professional, the role is to deliver the most appropriate product to meet the needs of the individual patient.
1. hwww.roymorgan.com/findings/glasses-vs-contacts-australia-and-new-zealand-march 2013-201306272307