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    Managing an office and optical move

    How we combined two offices and maintained patient care


    Changing up the frame lines

    Moving our physical location was only part of the transformation that was taking place. Our practice was taking the opportunity to re-evaluate the products that we sell and carry. Because we found European-based manufacturing to be superior, we decided to move away from frames produced in China.

    For many years, the office carried lines made by eyewear designers as well as name-brand or licensed frames. This was partly due to wholesale cost and partly because patients expect to find name-brand frames when shopping for eyewear. As eyewear purchase has become more commoditized, we have found it increasingly difficult to differentiate ourselves from larger, more advertised retail chains. Consumers believe that they are getting the same product from a private practice as they are online or at big-box stores.

    I know some of you are throwing your hands up in frustration, screaming, “Of course they’re not!” I know that, and you know that—but how do patients know if they can purchase online for less than you paid wholesale the same frame you’re selling?

    Related: Why you should offer children's eyewear

    If we want to deliver products and experiences that truly are different, we need to purchase differently. Carrying frames from smaller vendors has allowed us to concentrate on other important aspects during eyewear consultations, including distinctive design features, higher quality materials, and more customized elements that are sometimes lost when all patients can see is a name brand. Some of our top lines include Etnia Barcelona, Lafont, Lightec, ProDesign Denmark, and OGA. Because we primarily sell frames from brands that our patients don’t necessarily recognize, our staff conducts frame selection for our patients. We choose styles that we believe will work well for their prescriptions and take the opportunity to explain the features of the frames we are showing them.

    What an awesome feeling it is when a patient walks into our office, and we know his frames were from our exclusive collection just by looking at them. Let your patients be bold! Help them be different and see themselves in a way they may not have seen themselves before.

    Next: Same-day eyewear option

    Larissa Steinberg, CPOT
    Larissa Steinberg is the optical manager for Somerset Eye Care in North Brunswick, NJ. She has worked in the optical industry for almost ...


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