The ECP’s guide to surviving the age of online sales
Yes, you need to provide more than just excellent customer service
Millennials, consumers aged 18 to 34, remain the key age demographic for online commerce, spending more money online in a given year than any other age group. They spend around $2,000 annually on e-commerce. To remain a dominate player in online sales, businesses are starting to diversify their approach to capture more than just an eyewear sale. Here are some tips to stay ahead of the competition!
Offer In-store Only Deals: Offer extras ONLY to those who purchase from the retail office. Examples: Free exchange of unused lenses in the event of an RX change, free diagnostic lenses to hold you over until your routine eye exam. These small gestures can make a huge impact towards building a long-term relationship with your patients. Showing that you are willing to take five minutes and do an adjustment for a patient whose entire family also visits your practice is monumental for keeping their business in the long run.
Community involvement: Get involved – being of service in the community is worth its weight in gold! Here are some ways to get involved: host a charitable event, be on the frontlines for volunteer work, sponsor sports teams, even work closely with other small businesses and barter your services when you can!
Higher patient volume: Try offering specialty care by providing services that other retailers do not. Other ideas like trunk shows, celebrating a holiday, offering birthday specials, etc. is a great way to stand out from the competition. Trunk shows are a great way to interact with your clientele and see what your competition is doing, while special deals are a great way for returning customers to spread the deals to new customers!
Be personable: Go by your first name to leave a lasting impression on new patients. Establish a phone or voicemail greeting for your staff to use that is unique and reflective to your brand. Automatically send out e-mails/e-cards to patients on their birthday. Little things to make you and your business more personable will make an enormous difference in the long run. Remember, it’s more than a trip to the eye doctor – think about building an experience around the patient, something that wow’s them and puts them at the center of the visit.
Stay competitive: Keep your pricing competitive. If a patient can find the frame cheaper elsewhere, then they most likely will go with the place that has the lower price! Constantly monitor your competitors and stay up to date… this means on a larger level than just within your local community – If you sell lens solution at the register, is it competitive to what your patients would pay on Amazon?
Create an online footprint: Many independent retailers may not have the time or resources to set up an entire website for ordering, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get your feet wet with a simple website. You can create an affordable site using online platforms like SquareSpace, where you can host your business information (contact info, about us, etc.) and even showcase some of your best-selling styles to bring in more attention to your shop.
Stay social: Social media is a great way to engage with your current AND potential patients. Make sure you have at least a Facebook so your patients can access your business hours, contact info, etc. Create a hashtag for your office to build engagement, or set up a selfie station for patients to snap pics while trying on eyewear and offer to feature them on your Instagram page! For more information on social media, get Zyloware’s Social Media Kit here!
Be available: Your product doesn’t need to be special, just available. When you are competing with many others, how do you make your service/product superior to the others? Being uniquely different doesn’t necessarily mean better, but it does mean establishing a unique identity for your brand, services and shop to separate you from the rest.
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