Five Ways to Sell Sports

Five Ways to Sell Sports

From golfers on the green to cyclists on the road, sports enthusiasts in nearly every genre crave new technologies in their gear that enable them to go longer, faster, and harder. Today's sports eyewear delivers on this demand with outstanding developments in lens technology, frame design, and materials. New eyewear technology equates to new selling opportunities, keying in on the sports eyewear audience's passion for punched-up options. “Most sports participants buy into technology for their bikes and other sports gear,” says Shannen Knight, owner and dispensing optician at A Sight for Sport Eyes, an optical shop in Portland that puts the onus on sports eyewear. “It's a lot easier to sell technology to that person.” How can optical retailers outpace the competition when it comes to selling sports eyewear? Look no further than these five spicy strategies for bumping up sales.

1 CAPTIVATE YOUR AUDIENCE: Got sports eyewear? Make it loud and clear by strategically placing a few pieces of good-looking, relevant sports equipment in your sports area. Oakley's N3L Optics retail stores suspend mountain bikes from the ceiling and place items like helmets and body armor on shelves.

“I hang golf clubs in the golf eyewear area and snowshoes and skis over my ski goggles,” says Tim Donovan, owner of Aspen, Colo.-based Optical Options. “You only have the customer on your stage for a few minutes. You have to move fast and grab their attention.”

2 LET THEM TEST IT: At the OPSM eye hub store in Melbourne, Australia, shoppers can put sports eyewear to the test in a special room called the Oakley Wind Tunnel. This chamber features a stationary spin bike and treadmill plus wind-simulating machines.

Stateside, N3L Optics offers an Explorer Chamber in each of its stores. This environmental simulator enables customers to test eyewear in varying light and airflow conditions, with wind speeds capable of reaching 35 mph.

Display & Simulate: (from top) OPSM eye hub's environment simulator, N3L Optics' merchandising and Explorer Chamber, and Smith Optics' PivLock V90 Max

3 BLOWSOCKS THEIR OFF: Short on space for a wind tunnel in your optical shop? Shannen says she plans to simply put some fans in her office for testing purposes, especially for those customers with dry eye. At Denver's Eyetech Sports Optical, owner Bret Hunter says customers can take eyewear out for a test drive in the car.

4 SHOW THEM THE LIGHT: Polarization is one of the hottest technologies in sports eyewear. It's also one of the easiest features to demonstrate. “We encourage people to take them outside,” says Shannen. “We also show them our light box demonstrator, which helps people understand the polarized difference.”

5 DELIVER OPTIONS: If space (and your focus) permits, aim to offer an ample assortment of sports eyewear from which to choose. Eyetech Optical boasts nearly 400 sports eyewear frames in a room solely dedicated to the category. “We find out what each customer needs, size up the Rx, and try a lot of things on,” says Hunter. “The average person tries on at least 30 to 40 frames.”