Merchandising Daily Disposables
Use many touch-points so patients can make informed decisions.
Gina M. Wesley, O.D., M.S., F.A.A.O.
One of the key aspects in making sure your patients know what your office has for sale is an effective and visible merchandising layout. This is especially important for daily disposable contact lenses. The convenience, compliance and health benefits of fitting daily disposables offer value to both your office (in terms of profitability) and patient satisfaction — having them ready for immediate purchase is a great compliment to that convenience. Let’s look at how, where and why you should merchandise your daily disposable contact lenses.
In my office, we have professional, leather-bound binders sitting in the reception area that contain inserts on all our products and services. These inserts are easily interchanged, and we always feature daily disposables. The insert is colorful, informative, yet succinct in touting the benefits of dailies as well as our pricing (including rebates) compared with major retailers and online competitors. We describe our “contact lens guarantee” when purchasing dailies, which allows for the interchange of product if powers change mid-year, as well as offers trials to make it to their next appointment. We also have an educational loop we run on our flat-screen TV in the reception area that educates patients about daily disposables.
Technician discussion/exam room displays
Current contact lens wearers, if not already wearing daily disposables, listen to my technician as she relates the advantages of wearing them, which usually convinces patients to try them before I’ve even consulted with them during the exam. This is further emphasized with exam-room point-of-purchase displays. They are not large, but countertop-sized, and they feature the daily disposable brands I fit most often.
Fitting sets on hand
Having the daily disposables ready for immediate dispense on the day of the exam is crucial in keeping your patients excited about this new modality they’ve possibly never tried. I dispense at least a 10-day supply of lenses so patients can really get a feel for the day-to-day experience of wearing them. If you have to order them, you delay the experience for the patient, and the patient may not be as enthused about making the purchase.
The most obvious and underutilized method of in-office merchandising is displaying the product for immediate sale. Carrying an inventory not only offers the patient an immediate supply after finalizing the prescription, but can also be an attractive display that begs such questions from patients as: “What product is that?” Does the doctor prescribe this often? You mean I can take this home today instead of coming back or waiting for it to be shipped to my home?”
The most important of all merchandising strategies, though, is the doctor’s prescription. If the prescription doesn’t come from the exam room, it can be difficult for your staff to make the sale.
Keep in mind the multi-factorial nature and many touch-points that allow your patients to gather information, and make informed decisions about their purchases. Fine-tuning each area and making it convenient will fuel this profit-center and your office. OM
DR. WESLEY PRACTICES AT COMPLETE EYE CARE OF MEDINA, WHICH SHE OPENED IN 2008. SHE WAS HONORED WITH MINNESOTA’S YOUNG OPTOMETRIST OF THE YEAR IN 2011. E-MAIL DRWESLEY@CECOFMEDINA.COM, OR SEND COMMENTS TO OPTOMETRICMANAGEMENT@GMAIL.COM.
Optometric Management, Volume: 48 , Issue: January 2013, page(s): 35