2020 is undoubtedly the year of all things optical. IcareLabs wants to make sure you not only meet your optical sales goals for the year, but we want this to be the best year you have ever had!
You, like many others, use the new year to make resolutions and/or promises to make changes in your life. Making a resolution is the easy part, sticking with it is another thing altogether. This is why there is a waiting line at the gym in January and by June you would be surprised if you had to wait for a machine. The number one reason that resolutions fail is that we treat them like a sprint and not a marathon.
We try and make too many or too big of changes that are just too hard to stick with. Let's focus on some small doable goals for 2020. Keep it simple and have some fun.
How do you start this year off in the right direction for your business? More importantly, what can you do to increase your 2020 optical sales and maintain this increase throughout the whole year?
As the old saying goes "No one plans to fail, they fail to plan". With this in mind, what are your plans for 2020? I would assume you are planning for success, but how do you get there?
In keeping it simple, let's look at 3 key drives for a successful calendar year. Capture rate, retention, and average sales price (ASP).
1) Capture rate
Independent studies show that over 65% of prescriptions each year in the US are written by independent doctors of optometry in independent offices. This is not too bad. We are beating big box here 3 to 1. Here is the sad news, only 45% of Rx's are being filled at independent opticals.
Big box and online are getting the majority of eyeglass sales in the US. In some cases, 40% of your patients are walking out of your front door without purchasing. The measurement of patients that purchase in the optical after exam is the capture rate.
What is your capture rate? Is this something that you are tracking? If not, then you definitely should be. You need to have a baseline to be able to track growth.
Once you have a baseline your next step is to figure out why patients are leaving without purchasing. Why not give some of them a call? Ask them what kept them from purchasing at your office. The results might surprise you. Take this input and make changes in your office to combat this lost revenue.
It might simply be a better hand-off plan between the doctor and optician. You might need to advertise some value products in your office. It may be time to carry some nicer designer frames. Your lost customers will answer this for you.
Are your patients coming back to see you year after year? This is something else that needs to be tracked. There is a ton of competition out there and advertising has never been more important. You probably don't have the budget for a TV commercial and even if you did, your return on investment (ROI) would most likely be minimal.
There are numerous free or very inexpensive ways to keep up with your customer base to make sure they are thinking of you when the time to repurchase comes.
Here are a few examples:
- Newsletters via email to your customer base (just like we do).
- Eblasts to your customer base advertising specials, new products, and events.
- Utilize social media such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.
- Encourage happy customers to give online reviews!
3) Increase average sales price (ASP) per sale
Your average sales price per sale is one of the most important stats to track. You have already won this customer and made a sale, so half of the battle has been won.
What we often fail to do is to capitalize fully on these sales. Now don't stop reading here, I am not talking about ripping your patients off. No need to drive ASP up just to drive it up. Let's look at some statistics in our market to see where we are missing out on sales.
In the US we are still averaging well below 40% non-glare penetration while most other countries are over 90%. Transition sales are still below the 20% mark, while 70% of eyeglass wearers, when surveyed, said that they would be interested in the technology and benefits that Transitions Gen 8 offers.
Online opticals are outpacing brick and mortar by well over 10% in sales of Transitions lenses. The do this by simply offering the benefits of Transitions lenses to every purchaser regardless of their needs.
Increasing ASP is simply listening to your patients' needs and recommending common-sense solutions to those needs. Take the time to get to know what is working well for them and what is lacking. Offering solutions to their needs will benefit them and you. They will be more satisfied and more likely to spread word-of-mouth advertising and your ASP will increase.
Also, don't be afraid to sell high-end progressive lenses. Many of your patients are asking for more out of the lenses than 20-year-old technology can offer. Listen and recommend. Most are willing to pay more for a better performing pair of lenses as long as they understand the benefits they provide.
Take time to look at your pricing and costs. As you upgrade sales you need to also be raising your margins. Raising top line sales with no increase in profitability does not benefit you business.
In an effort to help you have a more successful 2020, IcareLabs is committed to bringing you new and exciting tools to help you this year. Be on the lookout for these being posted on our blog in the near future!