Use these steps to measure and analyze what works… and what doesn’t
GINA M. WESLEY O.D., M.S., F.A.A.O.
However you utilize merchandising tactics, you gain no useful information regarding their effectiveness unless you have a method of measuring and analyzing them. Without a method, how would you know when to stop a poorly received merchandising strategy? Or conversely, continue with one that is working well?
As the following steps demonstrate, the key is to evaluate your merchandising tactics in a clear and concise manner.
1 Set targets, or goals, and track appropriately
If you engage in a new merchandising approach, you likely have a “hoped for” outcome.
Take the new frame line that you prominently feature. Your merchandising includes excellent information regarding its make, materials, fit, color, etc. You train your optical staff to be well-versed in discussing these attributes. You obviously hope this line sells.
But, what is your target? If it’s an increase of X number of frames sold per week, let your staff know, and track it. This sounds simple, but how many times have you set new merchandising tactics and attempted to “feel” their effects by asking staff, “So how’s that line selling?
2 Adjust your goals as needed
You find that you surpass your weekly goal of selling annual supplies of contact lenses by three to four more than anticipated. Adjust the goal to reflect your current success, and aim for the next level.
Meet with staff to discuss the methods that have led you to surpass your expectations. Conversely, if you miss targets after a few weeks or months of analysis, adjust the goal, and meet with staff to find out why the goal wasn’t met. There may be a legitimate reason (fewer contact lens wearers in the last few weeks than average) that helps you realistically understand and amend your initial target.
3 Look to industry standards
Not sure how many exams per day/week/month are normal for an office with your doctor hours? Confused as to what percentage of patients are buying multiple pairs across the board? A great way to find out is to look at industry standards. They may give you a starting point in understanding how your office is doing in said category. Perhaps you are far above average in some areas, but less than average in others. You now know where to focus, and have a gauge with which to compare, even if it showcases general averages.
4 Don’t forget to compare yourself to yourself
Just because you may be well above average, or far exceed your initial goal, doesn’t mean there isn’t greater room for achievement.
For example, you and your staff may have fit more than 40% of last month’s patients in contact lenses, even though “average” practices fit 35% of their patients. Don’t slow your presentation of contact lens options. Far greater opportunity still exists.
Merchandising tactics, in whatever realm you present them, can be very effective… or a big miss. You won’t know, however, unless you employ some methods of analysis and adjustment to better understand their value. OM
Optometric Management, Volume: 49 , Issue: August 2014, page(s): 60