Four Facets of Trunk Show Success

With the holiday shopping season officially here, consider a trunk show to show off your optical, engage current and prospective patients and generate sales. With this in mind, here are the four facets of a successful holiday trunk show, according to three optical experts.


Having after-hours and extended hours for sales during the holidays is beneficial because it makes shopping convenient for the consumer who is particularly time-strapped during this time of year, explains Nathan Bonilla-Warford, O.D., who practices in Tampa, Fla.


Inform staff ahead of time, so that they’ll help spread the word among patients, family members and friends. Additionally, train staff members so they know how to run the show and what you expect of them, Dr. Bonilla-Warford says.

“I highly recommend preparing some sort of cheat sheet that’s exclusively applicable to the event, so that staff can then answer con-sumer questions immediately vs. sneaking away to ask a colleague or doing math in front of the consumer,” he explains.

An example of what a personal invitation to your trunk show could look like.


Eight tips to consider:

A. Call it a “Party.” I’ve found that consumers think a ‘trunk show’ is selling products out of a car trunk,” explains Tanya Gill, O.D., who practices in Oakland, Calif. “I would use the term, ‘party,’ or the phrases, ‘incredible sale,’ or ‘end-of-the-year sale,’ so consumers understand what it is you’re doing.”

B. Keep it seasonal-based. In- stead of trying to lump together all the religious celebrations, which can distract from the products, go with one seasonal-based look for the optical, suggests Ruth Domber, a New York City optician.

Dr. Bonilla-Warford adds: those who practice in the South, could go with a play on winter wonderland by, for example, having a sleigh leaning next to a surfboard.

C. Offer refreshments. For the winter season theme, offer hot chocolate, cider or, if you practice in the South, a cold winter-themed beverage, such as a non-alcoholic coconut blizzard, Dr. Bonilla-Warford says.

Ms. Domber suggests small food items, such as cookies, but no candy, as it can ruin carpeting and make product sticky.

D. Consider sensory marketing. “It’s nice to have music playing and a nice smell in the optical,” says. Ms. Domber. “I’ve found that Motown music and vanilla-scented candles — out of consumer reach, of course — work nicely during the holidays.

E. Invite “brand fans.” Run a report through your EHR of those who have bought the trunk show brands, and send them a personal invite, as you’re much more likely to make a sale with these folks vs. those who come off the street to check out the show, says Ms. Domber.

F. Mention Flexible Spending Account Dollars. “These are ‘use-it-or-lose-it’ funds, so it makes sense to mention this in your marketing materials,” explains Dr. Gill.

G. Seek local support. Ask whether you can post event flyers in local businesses, suggests Dr. Bonilla-Warford.

“This was a very successful tactic for us because local business owners like the idea of supporting one another,” he says.

H. Go online. Advertise the event through your social media channels, particularly on Facebook and Instagram, says Dr. Gill.

“Utilize the Facebook Stories feature, which gets you additional engagement, and Instagram utilizing one or two seasonal graphics that should tie together the entire marketing campaign. Cohesiveness builds consumer familiarity,” she says. “I would also update the banner on your practice website with the graphic(s), I would create a unique hashtag, for the event to build engagement on Twitter and other social media channels, and I would set aside a small budget to boost the Facebook trunk show post. These tactics have all been successful for me.”


Once consumers know the date of the trunk show, optical sales often die, so consider having a pre-sale of some of the products to prevent this, and still have the actual trunk show, says Dr. Gill.

“Your optical sales won’t hurt, and your staff is less crazed, as they are not being bum-rushed all at once,” she explains. ■

— Jennifer Kirby, senior editor