Published in Non-Clinical

Pretty Sells - Increase Eye Wear Sales Using Visual Merchandising

This is editorially independent content
4 min read

Visual merchandising is key to optical sales for both associates and owner Optometrists. Buyer behaviors are influenced by merchandising.

What is Visual Merchandising?

  • Bringing displays, products, and merchandise to life
  • Arrangement of items to entice a customer, bring in customers, tell a story, or create ambiance
  • Use of color, pattern, shape, and texture in a way that appeals to the senses
  • Changing merchandise position or location to receive more attention
We know that first impressions are crucial. Take the study conducted by the International Business & Economics Research Journal.
It tells us that "each and every message created by an apparel retailer is done with a specific purpose in mind" and that "buying behavior is influenced on a subliminal level based on the quality of the visual merchandising displays and their personal preferences, including gender."

Bottom Line: The research showed that women are more attentive to the complete retail experience. Who is it that makes most healthcare choices for themselves and their families? Women.

Why is Visual Merchandising important to you as an associate OD?

Some associate's salaries are production based, meaning you take home a pre-determined percentage of your production. Other associate salaries may be base plus a percentage of production.
Basically, the more glasses you sell, the more money you will make. Many times as a new OD, your schedule may not be full, and you bring more to the table as an associate if you can help in other areas of the practice when you are not seeing patients. Most employers have no interest or no time to get involved in the optical. However, most employer ODs love when their associates bring new ideas to the practice that drive in revenue.

Why is Visual Merchandising important to you as an owner OD?

$$$ - dollar signs, does that explain it?

How can we apply Visual Merchandising to our optical? Answer these questions

What is the story behind your product? How can you display the story to your patients?
What is the frame line known for? How can you demonstrate this?
How can you set this line's visual presentation apart from others?
What do my patients associate or identify with this line?
How can I give visual indicators to my patients as to a product's worth or cost?
Are your frames easily accessible? Do you have adequate space allocated? Does your arrangement encourage browsing?
Do you have enough POP (point of purchase)? Do you have too much POP? Is your frame the attention-getter or is it the material that came with it?
Do you rotate your merchandise?
Can you change your displays seasonally? To indicate new product has arrived?

How I run my dispensary

At 4 Eyes, we separate our middle of the road frames from our luxury eyewear.
We create visual displays that tell the story of the high-end lines. When we have a rep come in with a frame line, I like to ask them what is different about their line. What is their best selling point?
For example, the board on the left displays our average priced frames $200-$300, but our display on the right highlights our high-end, independent line, SALT. When I think SALT, I think beach. We added sand to the glass enclosed display to give texture and to drive attention. The frames are all sleek, smooth, and display high-craftsmanship. We want to indicate that to our patients by the way they are displayed and branded.

When merchandise is displayed vertically as shown, you are indicating that all frames are equal in price, quality or both. When you display them in a collection, you are indicating there is something special about these frames. Patients gravitate towards these frames.

How to sell the story

In addition to promoting frame quality using visual merchandising, we seek to tell the story. People connect to stories, which is why we love books, music and movies.
Oliver Goldsmith was one of the most influential designers of sunglasses for actors in the 60s and 70s. Mr. Goldsmith re-created the famous sunglasses worn by Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany's. The public loves this iconic film, and we used its broad appeal to showcase our suns.
If you need some ideas to get you started, visit The Optical Vision Site. For more ideas on how to build a unique dispensary and increase your eyewear capture rate, read my other article How to Design a One-of-a-Kind Optical Dispensary – by a new graduate who opened cold.
Or just comment below!
Courtney Dryer, OD
About Courtney Dryer, OD

Courtney Dryer is a 2011 graduate of SCO. She opened 4 Eyes Optometry in her hometown of Charlotte, NC in February of 2013. After 5 years, the practice name was changed to Autarchic Spec Shop to renew the practice's commitment to independent optometry. In addition to consulting with new graduate optometrists on start-up practices, she contributes regularly to New Grad Optometry and has guest blogged for Invision Magazine. The unique design of her boutique practice was featured in Women in Optometry. In 2015, Vision Monday named her a Rising Star, and one of the most influential women in optical.

Courtney Dryer, OD
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