In a market flooded with over a hundred different progressive lens options how do you choose which one or ones to use?
Should you be using a branded product or a house brand product?
I simply say yes! You should be using both and here's why.
Branded products such as Varilux, Hoya, Kodak, Shamir, and Zeiss lead the market in cutting edge technologies but they also lead in marketing. Varilux has moved their marketing efforts towards the end user over the last few years which has resulted in more of your patients requesting Varilux, Crizal and Transitions by name.
This isn't so much the case with other vendors as their marketing continues to be at the lab and ECP level. They are trusting you to drive their sales.
One way is not better than the other. One thing remains constant: marketing is never cheap. These vendors spend millions a year to move their product whether it is through consumer or ECP efforts.
By now most of you have made a decision on which brand you have the most trust in. You are confident in what you are dispensing and can back that up with high adaptation rates. The good news is that they all will work. Today’s branded progressives have one thing in common – when dispensed properly – they just plain work.
Well, with this in mind, what about house brands? Will they work and why should you be dispensing these to at least some of your patients?
We believe a 3-tier, good, better, best system works well. You have your premium branded product as your "best" and lead with this to most patients. Your "better" product is either a mid-priced branded product or the higher end house brand. Then of course you have your "good" product, such as a value house digital like our Heritage. This gives you a true freeform digital with a value price to save the sale with your price conscious patients.
Here are 5 reasons that we believe a three tiered approach using house-brands in the mix should be part of your progressive lens portfolio:
1) Capture Rate
Recent studies have shown that a little over 65% of Rx prescriptions were completed by independent Doctors of Optometry in independent (not big box) offices while only around 45% off Rx’s were filled in these same offices.
You are losing customers to on-line and big box whether you want to admit it or not. The single biggest reason is your customer is convinced there is a better deal available elsewhere. House-branded digital progressives give you the ability to compete with on-line and big box while offering a product that works almost as well or as well as higher priced branded products.
2) Improved Retention
Pricing might not be as glamorous as slick marketing is to our customers, yes, I said customer, but pricing and value can make the sale. We want to treat the patient like a patient but at the end of the day they are also a paying customer.
Customers like value and they will return based upon a perceived value. While great friendly service, good frame selection, and a thorough exam are all value adds; the price point for the pair of glasses is what this value is based on.
Being able to offer you patient a value price point might be the difference of where they purchase their next pair of glasses.
3) Increased Margins
Year over year our industry as a whole has seen low single digit growth in units sold over the last few years. While some individual offices and practices have seen much higher growth numbers many are running flat to down.
When you are not able to increase unit sales the next best thing is opening your profit margins. This can be done by either raising prices or lowering costs. House brand digital progressives such as our Heritage and Legacy family of lenses allow lower cost while still giving you a premium digital product to dispense to your patient.
In many cases, there is no drop off in quality and adaptation compared to higher cost branded products. Please understand that there is always a need for branded for some patients. Many will come in and request a branded product by name, sell it to them!
Often a patient has been in a branded product for years and have shared with you how satisfied they are with them. Just leave them in them.
Value house brand is not for every patient but when the opportunity is there the value price point can make a huge difference in your P&L report at the end of the year.
4) Available in Most Material Combinations
Our Heritage and Legacy designs are available in almost all material combinations. From CR-39 to 1.74. We also offer a wide selection of photochromic products ranging from value to the full line of Transition products.
Icarelabs' Heritage and Legacy lenses can fill almost all your needs.
5) Quality Products You Can Trust
While we are one of the nation’s top labs, we know what we do best and what our limitations are. Being a great lab does not equate to the ability to create our own digital progressive designs.
When we embarked out into the world of digital processing we knew we wanted a quality house brand and spent many months looking at what was available out there and tested many designs. If we were going to put our name on it, the design had to work and work well.
When we released our Legacy design about 8 years ago we knew we had a winner. We partnered up with IOT and customized their designs to meet the demanding needs of our customers.
The success we saw with the Legacy family of lenses was beyond anything we had hoped for with the Legacy Pro becoming our #1 selling progressive in a few short months.
Just this year we felt there was a need for second design and release our Heritage designs. These are Crossbows designs from Kodak. Within a short period of time we have had nothing but positive feedback with some great success stories.
From value to high end we have a house brand to meet your patient’s needs. Offering non-compensated to fully compensated designs each offering ease of adaptation that compares or even exceeds what you will see with many higher cost branded products.
In closing, one lens, does not fit all. Listen to your patient’s needs. Don’t be afraid to sell high end branded products. There are some great ones out there that will fit specific needs your patient might have.
Also keep our Heritage and Legacy in mind. You do have patients looking for a better value. You do have patients who have heard and seen your competitions ads and do believe they can get 2 pair for $99 or whatever is being advertised out there. House branded products allow you to capture these customers and build retention with them.