Optometric Management Tip # 369   -   Wednesday, March 04, 2009
Frame Price Labels

Some eye care practices display the frame price on the frame and some don't. I've seen offices that use color coded dots to indicate the price and some where opticians just look the frame up on a price list. I find there are some good reasons to show the price on every frame and in this tip I'll also describe a neat method for doing so.

Overcoming sticker-shock

Letting the patient see the price of the frame as they browse and try them on actually helps sales because it gently lets the patient know what price range they are in. Many patients lose touch with frame and lens prices because they simply don't shop for them very often. Rather than letting the patient proceed with some misinformed concept of cost, I'd rather they be aware. We will still have to add the price of lenses to the eyeglass order, and obviously that is an unknown until the lens design is completed, but the frame price gets the equation started.

Seeing the price also lets the patient have some control over the total cost of eyewear without embarrassment. We may start with a more expensive frame but the patient can see other price lines on display and steer towards a lower price tier if desired. We certainly see that showing a $600 frame first makes it much easier to sell a $400 frame. For many people, the price is an indicator of fashion, quality, and exclusivity and seeing a high price may confirm that a frame is highly desirable and they gravitate toward those.

Where to put the price tag

There are many options for price labels out there from string tags on the temple to reusable plastic slip-through tags to self-sticking butterfly barcodes. But the coolest looking option in my opinion is to use a clear self-stick label that is placed on the demo lens of the frame.

An inexpensive label maker from an office supply store (like a Brother P-Touch) is used to print the price on a small label with a dollar sign in front of it. We place the label low on the lens so it does not interfere with the line of sight when trying it on. It's important to use clear labels so the tag is non-obtrusive. It looks like the price is printed on the demo lens. This price tag never gets in the way; never blocks a hinge and it stays on even if the frame is a drill mount with a very thin wire temple.

After you type in the price and hit print on the label maker, the labels are cut from a role of half inch tape that is supplied as a cassette.

Additional benefits

In addition to the price, we find it helpful to add some other information to the label for staff use only. We use a special code of sorts to indicate the wholesale price of the frame and the date it was acquired by my office. This code number is placed on the label next to the retail price. These two bits of information are very handy to have right on the frame! The wholesale price allows staff to quickly calculate frame overage costs for patients who are using a vision plan. The date acquired is helpful as our frame buyer reviews the physical inventory with or without the frame sales rep.

The code we use is simple, but I don't think patients pay any attention to it because it looks more like a model number. The code number is the two-digit year of the frame acquisition, followed by the two digit month, followed by the Frames book cost in dollars only, all with no spaces. So a frame costing $80 purchased in November 2008, which we might sell for $240 would have a clear label with black print that looks like this:

081180 $240

Inventory systems

If you use a frame inventory system as part of your office management software program, you may want to consider putting this information on your barcode labels for efficiency. But many practices that I analyze don't even use a computerized inventory and they do just fine. After many years of managing a very large optical dispensary within my practice, we are just now moving to a bar code inventory system. I'll keep you posted.

Best wishes for continued success,

Neil B. Gailmard, OD, MBA, FAAO
Chief Optometric Editor, Optometric Management