In a highly competitive market, eye care practices are increasingly searching for optical cases, cloths and other eyewear accessories to offer as give-aways or add-on purchases at point-of-sale.
Small, inexpensive yet useful, these optical accessories have the potential to boost customer loyalty, leave a lasting memory and promote your business to new customers.
We spoke to some of the suppliers in Australia to find out what’s new and how you can go about capitalising on the growth opportunity that optical accessories present.
From spectacle cases, sprays and cloths through to loops, cords and magnetic eye glass holders, accessories have a true value for purchasers, yet in the flurry of activity at point-of-sale, they are often over-looked.
Eyewear accessories are a perfect give-away to remind your customer to look after and value their purchase. They also show you care, and when branded with your practice logo and contact details, will make you the first point-of-contact when it comes time to purchasing a second or replacement pair of specs. Higher cost accessories can be given away with premium purchases or sold, providing valuable additional income. Another great way to use accessories is in your display cabinets and windows where they can add an eye-catching splash of colour and texture.
NEW AND EXCITING
While it’s easy to assume that options for eyewear accessories remain reasonably static over time, local manufacturers beg to differ.
Phillippa Dobson from Optica Life Accessories (Optica) says following fashion accessory colours, frame shapes and material trends is important to the company. “We follow trends to make sure our spectacle case offerings are the right size for frames in the market, and that colour options in our accessory ranges are current. We are always looking for new products and ideas so we love to get feedback from our customers. For example, in response to an increased focus on antifog products to help manage mask wearing, we have extended our anti-fog offering across wipes, gels, and lens cleaners.”
Ms Dobson’s company also moved quickly to support growing interest in more environmentally friendly product lines.
“In partnership with our supplier, we have developed a microfibre eco-cloth range, which is made from 70% recycled PET plastic and can be branded by practices. It has all the superior cleaning abilities of a standard microfibre cloth but is helping reduce waste plastic in the environment.”
Similarly Optique Line has recently introduced new ranges to meet the market. “Retailers are searching for accessories that are all about simplicity, quality and functionality. Bright colours, bold patterns and graphics are a growing trend within the accessories market, especially in kids’ cases,” says Sean Young, Marketing Manager for Optique Line.
“We recently released a range of kids’ cases with bold contemporary graphics which include animal, cartoon, comic and graffiti designs. We have also added two new printing styles – embroidery and digital faux embroidery – to our already diverse selection. These new finishes allow for customised designs to be personalised with a premium finish.”
As well as appealing to customers, Michael Krutsch from KE Optical says it’s important to take into account the logistics at point-of-sale.
“Our bespoke Australian made accessory kits allow small practices to give their patients an ongoing professional memory of their practice. Made from cardboard with a refillable lens spray bottle, they are environmentally sustainable. Importantly, they have been designed to make dispensers’ lives easier at pick-up time with everything included in one package so there’s no need to juggle small items. When matched with our high gloss, hard 50 cases with multicolour printing, a coordinated designer impression is assured.”
PERSONALISATION AT ITS BEST
Mr Young said optical practices are increasingly seeing the benefits of providing their customers with cases and cloths that reflect and represent their business. “There is a definite trend for retailers searching for a reliable supplier, who can offer an extensive accessories range, and a bespoke design service with a fast turn-around.”
To maximise the opportunity that accessories offer, it’s critical that you use the expertise of a graphic designer who can develop artwork that accurately reflects your brand and suits the shape, size and colours of the accessories it will be applied to.
“Ensure the product(s) you select for giveaway are practical yet make a statement,” advised Ms Dobson. “You want your customer to use it frequently and recall the fantastic service and experience they had in store, creating loyalty and championing on your behalf.
“It is also handy to have different levels of give-away products to help recognise the value the customer is investing in their frame and lenses, making them feel special with a little surprise add-on.”
To make life easy for busy practices, Optica offers a complete design and branding service that includes laser, digital, sublimation, debossing and more traditional printing methods such as screen and pad.
“The variety allows us to be flexible in response to our customer’s needs,” she said.
LOCAL VS INTERNATIONAL
Your decision to purchase locally or internationally sourced product is likely to be determined by your required quantities and turnaround time.
At KE Optical, Mr Krutsch keeps things local which means practices can place a low minimum order of only 300 products and expect delivery within 21–30 days. As well as supporting local manufacturers, by purchasing from KE Optical you’ll be supporting the company’s local community.
“For 15 years we have employed workers with disabilities. It is a win-win for them and us – it gives them higher self-esteem and it gives us a happy reliable workforce. I am pleased to report that we have transitioned some of our supported workers into full time permanent staff members,” said Mr Krutsch. “The staff members work across the organisation assisting with filling lens spray bottles, labelling spray bottles, printing lens cloths, assembling accessory kits, picking spectacle cases and packing orders.”
Optica’s accessories are manufactured and printed both on and offshore, depending on the product.
“This enables us to keep our offerings diverse with respect to range, price, and lead-time (which begins at three weeks but varies according to product),” said Ms Dobson. “Pre-COVID, we visited our overseas supply partners regularly to work on new products and check quality, while also working to help align them with the expectations in our ethical sourcing policy. Our diversity allows us to cater to each client’s niche set of requirements, be it timeframe, branding or budget”.
Optique Line has cloths and cases printed overseas. Their model differs from the others in that they have three order cycles per year with an estimated two months delivery.
“We offer personalised printing on both the inside and outside of the case. Our standard exterior printing range includes deboss, silk print and hot stamping, while our new premium printing service offers embroidery and digital faux embroidery. The cloths in our accessories range can either be customised with silk, pad or digital printing. Our marketing team provides an in-house design service for those practices that do not have artwork on hand.
“We offer a complimentary ‘set and forget service’ – once a practice places their initial order we will call them before each case cycle to see whether they need a top-up. This ensures our retailers never get low on their case stock”.
Just in case they do run low, Optique Line holds a selection of unbranded cases in its Australian based warehouse.
Take a look at the optical accessories on offer then chat to the distributors about options that will make your brand statement a stand out.
KE Optical supplies Australian made optical accessories as well as convenient accessory kits, the latter comprising a varnished cardboard box (available in a variety of shapes and designs), a large cloth and Opticlean lens spray bottle, all custom printed with your practice brand and contact details or chosen design. Add the Australian made logo to your printed accessories collection to communicate your preference for supplying genuine Australian products and supporting the local economy.
Contact: KE Optical (AUS) 03 9387 7088
Optica Life Accessories
Optica offers a complete design and branding service across a quality-focussed range of products, including cases, solutions, microfibre cloths, retail bags, lens care kits, lens cleaning tissues and labels. Lead times start at three to four weeks for branded cases, cloths and solutions, and all products are covered by a two-year manufacturing warranty. Products can be branded in single or full colour, or even debossed, depending on the item. There are multiple cloth and solution sizes and types to choose from, and a wide variety of stock case models which can be mixed and matched to meet a 100-unit minimum order quantity. Optica also has an extensive range of quality, affordable, unbranded accessories available for retail and add-on sales.
Contact: Optica Life Accessories (AUS) 1800 199 860 or (NZ) 0508 963 333
KH Optical has served the optical industry for over 10 years with a range of Australian made and imported products.
While orders for large quantities are generally sourced overseas, small production runs are completed in Australia, taking best advantage of local materials and labour. Some products are 100% Australian made.
Average production time is five weeks and three days for custom printed microfibre cloths and 12 days for custom printed lens sprays. PRO Lens Cleaner spray, which adds an effective anti-fog coating to lenses, is available in custom printed or generic bottles. Refills are available.
Contact: KH Optical (AUS) 07 5460 9100
Optique Line’s range of customisable cases is specifically designed with the Australian and New Zealand market in mind. With more than 100 colours and styles to choose from, complemented by internal and external printing options, your practice is guaranteed to be noticed.
Optique Line’s standard exterior printing range includes deboss, silk print and hot stamping. A new premium printing service includes embroidery and digital faux embroidery. The internal printing options are hot stamping in silver, gold and blue foils.
Contact: Optique Line (AUS) 03 9853 0796
With many years of experience, Frames Etcetera offers a one-stop shop for practice branded recycled packaging, hard and soft cases, microfibre cleaning cloths, as well as lens spray solutions and bottles.
Choose from cases and microfibre cloths in a multitude of colours, styles and grades then have them personalised with embossed finishes, screen printing, or multiple colour digital printing. Practice branded recycled paper gift bags are also available.
Contact: Frames Etcetera (AUS) 1800 708 771
Airport Eyewear Accessories
Airport eyewear accessories from Aviva Mann Optical are handmade in Italy from the highest quality materials. Eyewear chains are very much on trend at present so add some flair to your practice and entice your customers with a selection of bold chunky acetate chains as well as delicate chains embellished with decorative beads. Each chain is supplied with a microfibre storage pouch.
Contact: Aviva & Mann Optical (AUS) 1300 850 882
Clear Lens makes lens cleaning solutions for all types of lenses: prescription, reading, sunglasses and more. Made and bottled in Australia, Clear Lens spray bottles can be branded with your practice details, making them an ideal cost effective marketing tool. This quality product, that makes cleaning eyewear quick and easy, will reflect your image and enhance your brand.
Contact: Clear Lens (AUS) 02 4362 9109