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    A 2-tiered dispensing strategy
    to counteract online retail

    Click here, for free download

    NOTE: This program will download and run on one computer, and that computer must have some version of the program Excel. If you see a File Download - Security Warning prompt, choose to Save the file

    When a patient buys prescription eyewear on the Internet, your practice’s capture rate takes a hit as does per-patient optical revenue. You’ve also paid one or more opticians to provide free professional services that this online shopper needs.

    After an eye exam, opticians provide advice on frame shape and size that’s suitable for the prescription. Opticians provide the pupillary distance necessary for an accurate online order. After the patient receives their online purchase, opticians often provide free frame adjustments and help with troubleshooting when the eyewear does not meet expectations.

    If your optical shop is losing revenue as online retailers gain market share, consider implementing a two-tiered strategy.

    Tier 1: Improve patient education, because informed consumers are less likely to view prescription eyewear as a commodity. Educate your patients about ANSI standards, attributes of top-tier lenses and frames, quality fabrication, and correct lens alignment. Provide logical reasons why your patients should buy from you.

    Tier 2: Offer services online shoppers need. For those who elect to purchase eyewear online, define your unbundled professional services and collect appropriate fees.

    What to charge

    If you are not sure what to charge, begin by calculating profit and loss. I’ve created a spreadsheet calculator that you can use to unbundle optical service fees. It’s available through Optometry Times via a free download. The Spreadsheet Calculator is accessible with a video explanation.

    Click here, for free download

    NOTE: This program will download and run on one computer, and that computer must have some version of the program Excel. If you see a File Download - Security Warning prompt, choose to Save the file

    How to use the spreadsheet calculator

    Use the calculator to determine the typical profit you generate from providing unbundled dispensing services. Use the calculator to determine the typical loss your business absorbs when opticians provide free frame selection services and free dispensing services to patients who elect to purchase prescription eye wear online. With these profit and loss numbers in mind, you can set appropriate fees for unbundled optical services.

    Dr. Jacobs is director of Practice Management Depot. Contact her at [email protected]. She has no financial interest in the Spreadsheet Calculator.

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