Features: Clip Test

Jan
2003

Clip Test

Looking for a better bottom line?
Have you considered becoming a (sun)clip joint?

By Kristen Spina

The widespread availability and overwhelming practicality of sunclips have turned this little accessory add-on into a high-profile product/ player at dispensaries around the country. Sunclips have become a viable supplement and alternative to Rx sun allowing dispensers to build on the sale of ophthalmic and increase their business with those who might otherwise walk out the door without sun protection.

“This really is an important category,” says Michelle Sowders, optician/office manager of Eye Site Optical in Marietta, Ga. “It fills a need for people who can’t afford another pair of glasses or who, for whatever reason, don’t want to carry another pair.”

It’s a refrain heard over and over again. Ask a handful of dispensers to talk about sunclips and most will boast the category cannot be ignored—or left in a drawer behind the counter. “We make sure people see our clips right away,” says Ted Holloway, general manager of The Optical Place in Baltimore, Md. “We get people who have traditionally kept two pair of glasses, but they come in and see our clips and right away that’s what they want.”

“Magnetic clips are wonderful.
A tremendous part of that lure is the ease with which magnetics can be used during driving situations and other activities where only one hand can be used to make the eyewear clip connection.”
—Nick Watts
Washington Eye Center, Washington, Mo.

Sunclips have clearly come a long way in recent years. Improved technology—including the ubiquitous polarized lens—has done much to foster their popularity. In addition, state-of-the-art materials and new hardware have opened up the category’s potential. Without a doubt, magnetic clips are leaders among the best-selling styles and dispensers credit their streamlined look and easy- on/easy-off functionality for increased consumer demand. Variety has also become an important factor. A few years ago, dispensers may have been able to offer just a handful of traditional clips and even fewer magnetic alternatives.  Today, the array of clip products is huge. Vendors devoted to the magnetic clip scenario offer a multitude of magnetic styles in a wide range of materials, lens colorations, AND a variety of magnetic-tech variations.

“Magnetic clips are wonderful,” says Nick Watts, office manager of Washington Eye Center in Washington, Mo. “Customers love them.” A tremendous part of that lure is the ease with which magnetics can be used during driving situations and other activities where only one hand can be used to make the eyewear to clip connection.

Another thing customers love, says Watts, is a good deal. Washington Eye Center has had tremendous success selling clips as part of a complete frame and lens package. “It’s like when you buy a new car. If you know the car costs $21,000 and comes fully loaded, you’re not likely to bat an eye. But if the dealer starts telling you that power windows cost so much, and a CD player so much more, you’re likely to draw the line somewhere rather than take all the options. It’s strictly a marketing tool, but it’s also added value for what our customers are already buying.”

And in today’s troubled economy, added value makes a lot of sense. The reasons behind the success of sunclips are many. But at the risk of oversimplifying, it all comes down to one argument: Sunclips make good financial sense—for everyone.

 

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