Some days it probably feels like every frame rep in the world comes through your practice door. You are trying to work and some “kid” turns up with a sample case and an appointment to break up your day.
More than meets the eyeBritish retail optics has made huge progress in the last few years, with new, beautiful practices opening up and down the country. But if you don’t get the products right, everything else is an uphill struggle.
Before purchasing frames, you need to understand your target market. Who lives and works near your store? Who are you reaching with your online and offline media? And what kind of glasses will they want to see?
And here is the art – it is not about asking them what glasses they want to see, it is about showing them the frames that they will be interested in. They should trust you to go out and find them the best frames in the world.
The easiest and most visible way to differentiate yourself is through the products that you carry. You must excite your customers.
I would suggest heading to an international trade show to see what is available. There are so many great, independent brands that do not have representation in the UK, so unless you visit the shows, you will not discover them.
"The success of your business depends in no small part on the decisions that you make in that arena"
In the know
You should also make sure that your brands do not cannibalise each other. You have limited space on your shelves so make sure that every frame offers something fresh to the patient – you only need one collection of black and tortoiseshell frames.
Choose brands that share your values and represent your philosophy. Your patients express themselves through the frame they have on their face, while you express yourself by the 500 frames that you have on display.
Do not be scared. Many of you reading this rightly consider yourselves medical professionals and have little interest in frames. If so, delegate responsibility to someone in your team who does, or employ someone on a freelance basis to do your buying.
I risk upsetting people if I start recommending brands to buy or not to buy, but the success of your business largely depends on the decisions that you make in that arena.
Go to 100% Optical. Go to Mido. Go to Silmo. And while you are there, buy frames. Buy while you are in the brand environment and you can see the whole collection, and see how it should be presented.