Article

THE VALUE PROPOSITION

The OD Connection’s exclusive 2020 Focus Group Study takes the pulse of ECPs across the country to learn which buying group + optometric alliance benefits are most valuable.

Do you belong to a buying group or optometric alliance—or both?

Both business-boosting platforms are stronger than ever with eyecare professionals today. In fact, a full 66% of study respondents say they have joined an alliance and 44% say they have joined a buying group in the past 15 years.

How are ECPs benefiting from their memberships in these groups—and how are they using these partnerships to bolster their bottom lines?

The OD Connection’s 2020 Alliances + Buying Group Focus Group Study (a survey of ECPs across the country) reveals the key details and forward-looking trends in this unique arena for the new year.

5 KEY TAKEAWAYS

#1 PRONOUNCED PROFITS. Nearly half (47%) of focus group respondents have seen an increase in profits since joining an alliance or buying group. The average profit increase is 14%.

#2 RADICAL ROI. A full 56% of survey respondents revealed that, with all the benefits that alliances and buying groups offer, the return on investment has been well worth the decision to join.

#3 THE TOP BENEFIT. Special product pricing tops the list of benefits that ECPs are looking for from their buying group or alliance—a whopping 96% consider that perk to be somewhat to very important.

#4 LEANING INTO TRAINING. Staff training is another top buying group and alliance benefit for survey respondents, and 86% say they need optician training options the most, while 75% say they desire training in billing.

#5 FUTURE ADOPTERS. While 55% of survey respondents belong to a buying group and 36% belong to an optometric alliance, a very notable 67% of those ECPs who currently do not belong to a group or alliance say they do plan to join one within the next two years.

“The yearly meetings are very informative about business strategies.”

—Survey Respondent

THE PROFITABILITY

Nearly half of ECPs indicate that their profitability has increased since joining a buying group or optometric alliance—with an average of a 14% increase realized.

Since you’ve been a member of a buying group or optometric alliance, has your profitability increased or decreased?

“I joined an optometric alliance for the support, education, and rebates.”

—Survey Respondent

THE ROI

Membership has a price, but the majority of ECPs say that it is well worth the cost of admission.

Has the return on investment for an alliance or buying group membership been positive for your business?

WHICH BENEFITS MATTER MOST?

Today’s groups and alliances offer more benefits beyond product discounts than ever before. Which is the most valuable to ECPs?

BUYING GROUP + OPTOMETRIC ALLIANCE SUPPORT + BENEFITS RANKED BY SURVEY RESPONDENTS AS “VERY IMPORTANT”:

Special product pricing
80%

Staff training
42%

Business education
39%

Professional network meetings
36%

Digital marketing resources
27%

Social media resources
20%

In-house marketing resources
20%

COMPETITIVE BENEFITS

When asked about the biggest benefits realized since joining a buying group or alliance, ECPs had a variety of excellent thoughts:

BUYING GROUPS

■ DISCOUNTS

■ DECREASE IN COST OF GOODS

■ BILLING EASE

■ LAB DISCOUNT

■ PURCHASE NEW EQUIPMENT

O.D. ALLIANCES

■ DISCOUNTS + REBATES

■ BILLING EASE

■ LEARNING CODING/BILLING

■ PRACTICE MANAGEMENT TRAINING

■ GOAL SETTING + MARKETING