From Browser to Booster

Strategies for training staff to turn online shoppers into loyal customers

Online sales have created a challenge in brick-and-mortar opticals: how to handle folks coming in to try on eyewear they’ll later purchase online, or seeking adjustments when their online eyewear doesn’t fit. Should your staff ignore the showroomers and decline adjustments, or should they work with them to try to win them over?

Kelly Newman, ABOC, used to manage one of the four Denver-area locations of the premium optical shop Europtics, and now manages its online initiative (readers and plano sun only). Here, she shares Europtics’ philosophy on training staff to not just “handle” online shoppers who pop into the store, but to turn them into customers.


Training staff to communicate your business’s policy on customer service—including folks who bought or are thinking of buying online—is vital to making sure all staff share the same messaging. Here, three ways Europtics gets the training job done right.

#1. Focus the Message. “We focus our training on education in traditional ways for the optician, but also on how we educate clients about what sets us apart from online and other stores,” Newman says.

#2. Make It Consistent. “It is essential for a leader to acknowledge and accommodate the learning styles of their staff,” says Newman. “I blanket the policy via email and ensure all team members receive the same info.”

#3. Keep It Real. Though role-playing in training is encouraged, Europtics avoids scripted messages. “We want the interactions to be fluid versus feeling rehearsed. It is so important to dance gracefully around educating the clients without insulting them.”

Most people prefer a good value over a good deal, says Newman. “If they want to try online eyewear, we can educate them, they can learn the hard way, and then, if we did our job properly, they’ll come back to us and appreciate our help,” she says. —SUSAN TARRANT


How does the Europtics staff try to turn an online shopper into a loyal customer in real life (IRL)?

Ask. Whether the patient is attracted to the online price or the online convenience, the staff finds a way to offer something similar in-store, such as shipping or a package price featuring closeout frames.

Educate. Tactfully educate on the downside of online shopping without coming across as judgmental. One example of verbiage from the Europtics staff:
“I have seen safety failures and power and placement failures in a lot of the online pieces I have seen. All of our eyewear goes through no fewer than three inspections during and after the manufacturing process to deliver only the best quality and accuracy. Research your online seller to ensure they have opticians completing the inspections.”

Present the Value. Europtics shares the real value behind its offerings with online-leaning customers. The company is creating a package online consumers can buy that offers accuracy inspections and adjustments for 30 days on eyewear purchased online. But eyewear purchased from the store receives all that, plus the services of skilled opticians, for the lifetime of the eyewear, at no cost.

GET MORE STRATEGIES Want to learn more about how Europtics positions itself and its services to succeed against online retailers? We lay out more strategies on our website: