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Accessible Luxury, 2011

By Christine Yeh, Mark Mattison-Shupnick, ABOM

Release Date: October 1, 2011

Expiration Date: November 30, 2012

Learning Objectives:

Upon completion of this program, the participant should be able to:

  1. Understand the way that manufacturers have created new opportunities to extend the luxury category to more eyeglass wearers.
  2. Learn the components and methods to communicate the benefits of accessible luxury.
  3. Learn selling tips that resonate with consumers to improve eyewear revenue while delivering tangible benefits to wearers.

Mark Mattison-Shupnick Mark Mattison-Shupnick, ABOM, FNAO is currently director of education and training, program development for Jobson Information Services LLC, has more than 35 years of experience as an optician, was senior staff member of SOLA International and is a frequent lecturer and trainer.






Credit Statement:

This course is approved for one (1) hour of CE credit by the American Board of Opticianry (ABO).
Course # STWJM523-2

Luxury feels great and surrounds you, pampering every whim and signaling an attitude that others might want. As we have learned with eyewear and sunglasses, a bit of luxury doesn't have to be so rare and unattainable because of price, and be only accessible by a few. Make luxury accessible to every patient and learn the best ways to implement and communicate the opportunity. Describe accessible luxury to every patient.

img1Luxury Eyewear

Luxury requires some defining first. For some, luxury is the material from which frames are made; for others it is the brand and its identity that some folks have wanted for a long time, or it's the service that comes with a great pair of glasses. For the optician, it's all of those, and patients take away what they prefer. That means you need to know the components of luxury and the words that will make a difference.

Regardless, accessing luxury is personal. Co- author Christine Yeh, 20/20's Managing Editor writes in the Access (Accessible Luxury) supplement about her personal experiences in developing a love for brands. From accessories to labels, every generation finds things that identify their own individuality and also the things that bond them together. Her point is, people of all ages become attached to and begin a relationship with specific accessories, and in particular certain brands.

Making Brand Luxury Accessible

Borrowing from Christine's comments, adults form a deeper connection with accessories since they attach more ideas and experiences to the brands that they have tried. All of us know when a particular product is absolutely made for you. Chances are you'll keep going back to that brand for more.

This is classic brand loyalty at work. And such loyalty is vital especially in challenging times. A good, solid brand stands the test of time when it's backed by consumer confidence. This has been critical in recent years, as the economic environment has faltered. Our wallets are tighter, but we still revert to the brands we love and trust, especially when shopping for favorite items. And since smart shopping is more important than ever, we all want more "bang for our buck."

Luxury brands in particular have taken note, and many have responded with new eyewear collections offering high-fashion styling and premium quality at consumer-friendly price points. We call this accessible luxury eyewear.

Brand Components and Communication

The components that add luxury should be communicated. When done right, they can become part of your vocabulary but more importantly the vocabulary of the patient. This vocabulary resonates with patients, as they become fans of particular brands. In fact, the surprise will be when they also describe their eyewear using those same words. What do we mean?

Imagine saying to a patient, "This frame is part of a new line with optimized simplicity; it's functional, has larger design temples, hinge-less and light. It has integrated technical solutions you can see." Did we make up those words? No, it's the way that the new Axiom line under the ProDesign name is described from their website. Using the same words that the brand uses is essential to communicate different definitions of luxury that would be important to patients. It also means all of the components that manufacturers highlight as critical parts can and should be described.

Consider these words as a way to describe brand components. "This brand is part of our precious metals/materials collection. It combines the newest design features with a touch of gold. As we've seen form the financial markets, gold has become more precious than ever before. For some, it also means stability.

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Using the wealth of words that describe prints, colors and textures, add the manufact urer's meaning to their brands. Overall for color trends, refer to the Pantone website (www.pantone.com). For example, the color of the year is Honeysuckle. They describe it as "Courageous. Confident. Vital. A brave new color, for a brave new world. Let the bold spirit of Honeysuckle infuse you, lift you and carry you through the year. It's a color for every day—with nothing "everyday" about it." Use this website to better learn how to describe colors in frames.

The Access supplement offers another set of words to describe the luxurious use of Violet on a brushed metal frame. Consider describing a frame's color as "nothing delivers simple lavishness better than an enriched brush effect of violet on metal."

img3Prints, colors and textures can define the intricate details that make brands personal. Another example is texture. Here, a lattice design uniquely changes the frame's look and adds an art element that will have patients' friends commenting on their eyewear. Words you could use to describe a Lafont frame are, "lacy stainless steel and Lafont's acetate, never seen before work on color or materials."

What about glamour? Setting up a red color with sparkling jewelry makes a bold and luxurious statement about you and your eyewear. These words from Helium Paris, "…infuses intricate detaining with bold colorations" are perfect for a patient take-away.

Luxury can also mean unique design. Use the variety of elements in combination to create new and unique uses of materials that provide a difference of design. Here, Kliik uses two colors and mixes textures. Consider describing this frame's inner blue as a soft color that reduces the visibility of the frame so unlike a completely black frame, it is not seen as a vision boundary. This adds to the comfort factor of wearing eyewear. The wood-like character of the finish provides a unique look.

Patients seeking luxury often gravitate to classic interpretations because that's an identity they know from experience. In this Guess by Marciano frame, the combination of tortoise and logo is joined for quick recognition. Add a small stone or metal element for additional interest and that provides a bit of glamour but with classic subtlety.

For many patients, the desire for luxury makes them gravitate directly to a brand they know or with which they have had some experience. In fact, we want to be able to meet brand loyal patients and their wants. Look for brands that have risen to prominence, especially for younger clients, as they have shown real loyalty for the new brands that have provided better value. For example Tory Burch, described as chic enough for evenings, but modest enough to pair with any outfit. Look for the logo; display it with point of purchase materials and accessories from the same brand. This suggests to a patient the continuity of brand loyalty; products that always meet the brand's promise.

One last consideration that suggests luxury is a frame that calls attention to its wearer. Does it sparkle, scream "look at me" or add a bit of the dramatic? This OGI frame shimmers in the light and calls attention to the many layers that zyl is capable of combining for the perfect look.

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Aspirational Brands

How does one choose the right brands for an office? This is an especially important question to answer since there is no lack of frame reps knock Yet the consumer/patient is looking and balancing the daily ups and downs of their finances. But with the right guidance, they are ready to make a frame choice. Aspirational or accessible luxury brand ing. better s provide that "extra alue" patients are looking for when they have discretionary dollars to spend. If a patient doesn't see that better frame, then perhaps they'll spend instead on the next generation iPhone. So choose carefully to meet the variety of attitudes that brands let patients aspire to.

To familiarize yourself with aspirational and up and coming brands, log ont fa you want to attract. Then seek out the blogs that talk to those patient groups. Look at the style and prices—many of your patients are online shopping and doing research. Provide what they are looking for and keep them in-house.

Lastly, I'm always reminded of that small town rural office selling many higher priced brands—why? Patients aspire to have them and if offered and communicated correctly, they fly off the shelves. They also increase capture rate and patient loyalty.

img7Symbiotic

Luxury and eyewear is "symbiotic" i.e., they are mutually beneficial. They meet sun, UV, thinness and vision requirements, and get us technophiles in touch with our fashion side. They provide the same benefits to the wearer in a pair of eyewear that they want to wear. Bottom line is: They improve compliance in patients since they want to wear their glasses.

Ten Tips to Sell Accessible Luxury

To communicate and sell accessible luxury eyewear, follow these 10 steps.

  1. When making a special purchase, customers want to feel pampered. Roll out the red carp customers and all their intricacies will guide you to a well-informed sale.
  2. Don't make assumptions as to who can or can't afford accessible luxury eyewear. When there is a will to buy great eyew there is a way.
  3. Encourage customers to invest in a special pair of frames for a special event. Remind them they'll be looking at pictures from this celebration for years to come so they will want to look their best.
  4. Separate eyewear collections considered as accessible luxury from the rest and create a distinct area for these collections. Make the area look special (and well-lit) so your customers get the feel of purchasing something that is also special.
  5. Start by presenting the best quality eyewear you've got to provide a basis of comparison for everything else they try on.
  6. Be creative with your inventory. Stock imported frames and smaller boutique lines so your frame mix feels personalized.
  7. Offer quality lens options to complement frames. AR coatings, cosmetic tints, photochromic lenses and polarization complete a great high-end sale.
  8. Educate customers about eyewear and all the features. Share your expertise on quality points and emphasize innovative tec in on where the frame was crafted, the tech aspects of the hinges, what makes the material special and so on. Make that which is special accessible.
  9. If the eyewear is part of a collection, highlight signature details, shapes and colors. Show other frames from the same designer.
  10. Instruct patients on the care their new eyewear requires. They may need to polish gold and silver, moisturize wood and avoid extreme temperatures for various materials. And remember, no eyewear should ever be dispensed without a cleaning cloth, a cleaning solution and a special case.

New Methods of Communication

Take advantage of using social media i.e., consider a Facebook page for our business that highlights the new collections that have been added. Adding photos of patients (with their permission, of course) in new eyewear, their comments about being able to afford them and the benefits that they enjoy is terrific advertising.

Review of Optometric Business (reviewob.com) and other continuing courses on 20/20's Opticianry Study Center (2020mag.com/CE) provide additional materials that ensure all in the office understands the addition of accessible luxury.

Conclusion

img8Four last items are required when adding and communicating luxury that is accessible for more patients. The first requires you to get up in the helicopter and look down at the inventory in the store. Is there enough actual inventory in your collections that meets the requirements to highlight the opportunity to patients? Use the frame reps to understand brands and collections that answer the customer's desire for accessible luxury. Review 20/20 and read the descriptions used for frames. Do they fit your patients and their needs?

Next, you need an educated staff that is unafraid to make the suggestions presented and describes frames with panache. That sells, and patients repeat those statements when describing the eyewear they just purchased.

Lastly, ensure the collections picked and presented as accessible luxury are the same quality that supports the claim of luxury and the service in your ffice is as luxurious. Without these, the best of intentions are dashed. However, these two topics are enough for another CE so watch for it soon in another course.