Article

IN THE OPTICAL

The Optical Checklist

SEPTEMBER

Optician + optical manager Sheena Taff helps get your optical ready for the busy fall frame-buying season

Summer is wrapping up, and a new season is on the horizon. In the fall, the temps get a little cooler, the kids are back in school, and fashion is front of mind for many consumers. And in the optical industry it means one of the biggest frame-buying seasons is here!

With so many new frames releasing, it’s time to evaluate and audit your current stock while focusing on reinvigorating the shop and your sales. I’ve laid out a plan below.

Week 1: Vision Expo.

Vision Expo West is a great opportunity to see firsthand what is on-trend and learn from the experts which frames will be most coveted for the upcoming season. But before you go, it’s time to take stock of what you have.

WEEK 1 CHECKLIST

1. If you are attending Vision Expo, ensure that your flight, hotel, and expo registrations are confirmed. Review the education calendar and register for CE in areas of interest.

2. Pull inventory reports to identify your stale stock (any frames without a sales history in the last four to six months).

3. Remerchandise these frames by moving them to a high-traffic area, and encourage staff to take another look at their selling features.

Week 2: New Business.

Enticing new patients into your optical shop often begins on the outside. Whether it be from the sidewalk or online, make sure you have something new to catch their eye.

WEEK 2 CHECKLIST

1. Change out any branded posters or counter cards to reflect new fall styles and ensure you have the frames featured to show patients.

2. Create social media posts that highlight new arrivals and fall frame trends. This encourages patients to think about updating their eye style more often.

3. Get staff involved when sales representatives come to visit or when new product arrives. Have staff wear a new frame trend. This ensures they are aware of new styles and are excited to share with customers.

Week 3: Patient Perception.

It’s important to take a look at your business through the eyes of a patient. What does your optical shop’s online presence look like? This week, focus on maximizing your online presence and ensure your patients’ perception of you is optimal.

WEEK 3 CHECKLIST

1. Make a list of all your products’ suppliers. Email each of them to inquire if the supplier has a “Find a Retailer” option on its brand website. Ensure that your practice is listed on it, with your correct location and contact information.

2. Check on your business listings. Make sure your Google, Yellow Pages, Yelp, Facebook, and any other online directories are up to date with correct hours, contact information, services, specialties, and brands listed.

3. A picture is worth a thousand words. Does your practice have flattering and scroll-stopping pictures posted on its business listings? Take new pictures or hire a photographer to come and do it for you.

Week 4: Encourage Reviews.

We as businesses need not fear the online review. What is important is that we encourage all of our patients to leave online feedback. The good ones lift our spirits and the bad ones teach us where we can improve.

WEEK 4 CHECKLIST

1. Have a mini training session with each of your staff on how to ask for the review. “Make sure to share your five-star service” is one of my favorite ways to ask for an online review—it encourages patients to choose five stars!

2. Make review cards. Websites like Vistaprint allow you to print 1,000 business cards for around $10. On the card, include your business info plus a couple of your preferred review sites and hand them out to each patient.

3. Take the time to respond to each review. If it’s positive, thank the patron and share it on your social media. If it isn’t a good review or it addressed a negative experience, apologize online and encourage the patient to speak with you directly offline.

About the Author:

Sheena Taff is a second-generation licensed optician at Roberts & Brown Opticians in Vancouver, Canada. Since becoming the optical boutique boss, she has evolved and grown the business and taken it to new heights. Taff is familiar with the many roles an independent practice owner and employees must undertake and wants to share tips for growing a successful practice.