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A store within a store

As many large High Street names begin to welcome other services into their businesses, what can optometry do to keep pace with customer expectations?

22 Aug 2019 by Emily McCormick

As a teenager I balanced study with a Saturday job on the High Street, first at an accessories store and later at a large clothing retailer.

Operating a flagship store with around 90,000+ square foot of space in central London, it was common for the business to welcome in brands outside of its portfolio in order to increase footfall and ensure that its offering had a broad appeal – I read recently that the shop welcomes almost 400,000 people through its doors on a weekly basis.

My experience was around 16 years ago and, at the time, it was rare to walk into a shop that stocked products that it did not directly produce.

In more recent years, the notion of operating shops within shops has become something of second nature, from Next with its coffee and greeting card offering, to Tesco with its holiday services, and many others in between. Almost more often than not, large businesses will operate through this ‘concessions’ model. And while some welcome businesses under its roof to operate independently, others establish partnerships under their own branding.

Optometry on the High Street has not been immune to these changes in the standard retail model, as more independents and small groups enter audiology, for example.
This month I spoke with the owners of two opticians who have taken this idea one step further and introduced a diverse range of healthcare services, from podiatry, physiotherapy and aesthetics to beauty.

Both businesses ventured into different healthcare arenas for various reasons and at various times, with the main drivers being to diversify and to offer convenience for their patients through the sense a one-stop-healthcare-shop.

Of course, lessons have been learned along the way. For HB Opticians, which offers podiatry and beauty services, knowing the limitations of their own knowledge outside of optics has been key. For Murray Healthcare, which offers eight healthcare services under its roof, ensuring that patients feel that their opticians has introduced a new service in order to enhance its offering is of pivotal importance.

Read more about the experiences of HB Opticians and Murray Healthcare in the September edition of OT, which lands through your letterboxes on 31 August.

In the meantime, why not let us know what other healthcare services you would offer in practice by voting on our poll below.

If you introduced another healthcare service in practice, what would you offer?
  • Audiology

    36%
  • Podiatry

    11%
  • Physiotherapy

    4%
  • Pharmacy

    9%
  • Something else

    7%
  • None, I think it's best to remain as an opticians

    30%


Image credit: Getty/marchmeena29

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