ADD NEW FRAME LINES
PART THREE OF A FOUR-PART SERIES ON FRAME BOARD MANAGEMENT
DAVE ZIEGLER, O.D.
IN JULY, I explained frame board allocation and maps of your optical dispensary to visually represent your inventory. In addition, I discussed creating a simple inventory notebook that tracks your top sellers and simplifies frame rep visits. In August, I talked about how to fine tune your inventory and get rid of the frames you no longer want.
This month, I provide three steps to make the most of the brands you decided to keep and how to add new ones.
1 UNDERSTAND YOUR TARGET DEMOGRAPHIC
As in all types of retail settings, there are high-end, low-end and everything in between. This goes for frames, too. And as an established practice, your practice has already positioned itself along this spectrum, and this position is what your patients have come to expect. That’s not to say you can’t move in one direction or another. Just realize that the strategy of trying to be all things to all people by showing high- and low-end eyewear doesn’t work.
You can determine your “position” by making a simple graph of your frame prices in $25 increments. This will show your price distribution and where you fall on the price spectrum. This, also, will tell you a lot about who your target patient is.
2 AVOID STYLE OVERLAP
Each of your frame collections should be distinctly different, make a fashion statement and have a unique story. Each time you look at a new collection, you should be able to assign a unique style description to that brand. If you have two lines that are very similar, you don’t need one of them.
To evaluate your selections, perform a brand analysis. In addition to sorting your frames by price point, assign pre-defined labels, such as “contemporary,” “active,” “traditional,” etc., to each line. This may help you identify redundant frame lines, while enabling you to add others that complement and, therefore, extend your overall selection.
3 SELECT EXCLUSIVE LINES
While there are some brands patients expect you to carry, try to offer frame lines that no one else has in town.
Visit trade shows to identify possible exclusive lines. In my practice, we attend armed with our frame notebook. It contains a five-star price rating for each frame line, keeping us aware of exactly which price point new frames should be in to complement our current offerings. Buyers should also consider where a new line fits in the practice’s brand analysis.
Allow your staff to wear these unique brands. Doing so can prompt staff to show them to patients, while adding credibility and desirability to the frames for your patients.
Most offices are reluctant to add high-end frames to their optical dispensary. But it is a segment that is worth considering. I challenge you to bring in two new lines of frames this year that are 50% more expensive than your most expensive frame, and see what happens.
Next month, we’ll finish up this series with merchandising and ordering. OM