Since 2007, there has been a 650% increase in adults buying their eyewear online in the United States. Many of those consumers buying eyewear on the internet are probably your patients. As an independent eyecare professional in a changing market, what are you doing to compete with this expanding group of online optical retailers?
Leonard Hampton, OD
Many independent eyecare professionals have already opened their own eStore, including Dr. Leonard Hampton, who has practiced optometry for 29 years at Memphis Family Vision in Memphis, Tennessee. Dr. Hampton recently sat down with us to discuss his recent decision to open an eStore. Initially apprehensive and skeptical, everything changed when he learned that an eStore could keep patients in his practice and money in his pocket.
Q: What methods do you use to market your practice?
A: We’ve used traditional marketing techniques, such as give-aways, trunk shows, and other events. We recently tested the social media waters with Facebook and Twitter, and have more than 500 Facebook “Likes” and more than 20 Twitter followers. I’m not a “Facebooker,” but I recognize the value of having an online presence where so many people today connect and shop.
Q: Why did you consider opening an eStore?
A: Patients were walking out the door with their prescriptions and buying contacts and eyewear elsewhere, and we didn’t have a solution. We’d heard about eStores, but to be honest, I’m “old school” and it felt weird even thinking about having an online store!
Q: What steps did you take to learn more about eStores?
A: A trip to SECO in March changed everything. The turning point for me was learning from an eStores representative how an eStore could address our problem, how easy it was to set up, and that it was free because I already had an eWebExtra site.
Q: Can you describe your experience setting up your eStore?
A: It was fast and the easiest thing we’ve done in a long time—truly a no-brainer! Eyefinity did a great job helping us set it up and showing us how it worked. We started receiving contact lens orders immediately. Also, the prescription validation process is easy and straightforward.
Q: How are you marketing your eStore?
A: There’s an eStore link on our eWebExtra site and we advertise it on our business cards. Now, when patients ask for their prescription, I let them know they can buy online from our eStore. It’s not a high-pressure sale—we’re just letting them know they have a new option.
Q: Are the opticians in your dispensary directing patients to your eStore to see more frame options?
A: Yes, and if patients don’t find what they need, we ask them to come back for more help.
Q: What would you tell your peers about your experience offering patients online options to connect with your practice?
A: Having an eWebExtra site is phenomenal. It’s one convenient place for patients to download forms, link to Facebook and Twitter, and shop using our eStore.
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If you’re an eWebExtra customer, opening your eStore is free, fast, and easy. Get started now, and you can be open for online business in less than 30 minutes.*
If you’re not an eWebExtra customer, sign up now so you can reap the rewards like Dr. Hampton. Questions? Contact an eStores customer support expert at 855.393.2664.
*eStores are exclusive to VSP® practices at this time.
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