Rx SUN EXPERTS
Sally Halim, O.D., of Village Eyecare in Woolwich, NJ
This full-service practice caters to the entire family, and encourages the use of sunwear to every patient. Currently, about 15% of its sales is Rx sunwear, but Halim says her goal is to increase that every year.
Jim Knudsen, owner of Modern Eyes in Bismarck, ND
Modern Eyes is a hip, downtown storefront filled with cutting-edge eyewear. Its marketing features real customers in their real eyewear, and 20%-25% of its sales is Rx sunwear.
Dorothy Reynolds, L.O., manager of Optical Alternatives in Fairfield, CT
Located along the “Gold Coast” of Connecticut and featuring mostly independent lines, this shop (which takes no insurance) has an impressive Rx sun sales percentage of about 30%-35%.
Jamie Troster, owner of Eyes on First Ave in Atlantic Highlands, NJ
This performance-oriented shop is located near the beach and a marina, and dedicates about half of its inventory to sunwear.
Prescription sunwear has a very bright future in optical (pun intended). The reasons are abundant:
UV protection is a must for every patient.
Digital free-form surfacing is allowing even high-curve frame styles to be Rx’d.
Have you seen the gorgeous sun lenses coming out of your lab? Totally on trend.
In addition, according to EB’s 2017 Market Trends study, 43% of ECPs named Rx sunwear as their one fastest-growing specialty category. It’s a trending category, as this number is up from 29% of ECPs noting Rx sunwear as their one fastest-growing category in 2016. Are you ready to unlock the revenue potential of Rx sunwear in your optical?
Here, we check in with four optical pros who have a proven track record in Rx sunwear sales to reveal 12 key strategies that have worked for them.
Talk about the importance of sunwear protection in the exam room, especially if there are signs of age-related macular degeneration or cataracts. Share that topic with the optician during handoff.
2 KNOW THE TECH.
Make sure opticians are trained in the Rx parameters of certain base curves and frame sizes when it comes to higher prescriptions. Patients want to know all the great frames that will work with their Rx, but don’t want to choose something that won’t.
3 CHOOSE YOUR WORDS CAREFULLY.
Query patients with direct language: “What do you do for sunglasses?” Reynolds says: “Never ask a question that can have a simple yes-or-no answer. Wording the question this way immediately opens the subject up for a dialogue.”
4 DEDICATE A SECTION.
Call it a “sunglass corner” or whatever you want, and make sunwear a destination spot in your optical space.
5 GOT WINDOWS?
One day they are passers-by, the next day they could be walk-ins. Reynolds created a beach scene in her three big storefront windows that is flanked by eye-catching sunwear displays. “We hear people talking about it when they walk by,” she says.
Avoid carrying sunwear that can’t be Rx’d into most prescriptions.
“You never want to have to say, ‘Oh, no, you can’t have that one,’ when a browsing patient has already fallen in love with a sunglass,” recommends Knudsen.
7 SECOND-PAIR DISCOUNTS.
Offer Rx sunwear at a discount when a patient buys ophthalmic eyewear. You won’t make as much profit, but less is better than none. And your patients will be protected from glare and UV.
8 GO WHERE THE SPORTS ARE.
No matter where you’re located, there’s some type of outdoor activity that’s popular in town. Seek out those people. Become a sponsor or partner of the local fishing groups or cycling clubs and take part in their events (maybe even set up a booth). Word-of-mouth will help you get established as the expert in Rx sunwear.
9 FSA MONEY.
Flexible spending accounts can be used for Rx sunwear, too. Remind patients of that. Some of our ECP experts discount sunwear as a second-pair sale, and encourage patients to use their FSA to cover that entire sunwear bill.
10 NO WALK-AWAYS.
Patient’s Rx hasn’t changed since their last exam and they’re still happy with their current eyewear? Tell them they can use their vision insurance allowance for a pair of Rx suns. Most patients aren’t aware that insurance money can be used for that, as well.
11 LET LENSES SHINE.
Today’s trends are all about flash mirrors, cool gradients, and popping lens colors. Display all the enticing options (in frames), so patients know they aren’t relegated to boring, dark lenses if they Rx.
Include sunwear in all your marketing, especially social media. And, with patient approval, post your actual customers showing off their new Rx sunnies.