Lenses & Technology: L&T New Products


Looking In

Data details on designing the place-of-purchase

By Jackie Micucci
Whether we like it or not, we are all judged on first sight by appearance. This is equally true in the retail environment. A well-designed, well-displayed, well-organized store invites the customer to spend some time and then some money. That classic success formula applies to optical dispensaries.

Eyecare practitioners face the dual problem of appearing both medically professional and retail savvy. One way to do this is to set up your optical dispensary to appeal to both the patient and consumer side of your clientele.

More and more ECPs are realizing the important role the dispensary plays to their practice’s bottom line. Indeed, respondents to 20/20’s Retail Design Survey 2004* (see methodology) are allocating a majority of their location’s space to the dispensary (68 percent). As one OD recently noted in an interview, “the dispensary is where the majority of my income comes from so it needs to be an inviting space.”

Worth the wait
ECPs are capitalizing on the captive audience they have in their waiting area. The majority of practices surveyed—93 percent—incorporate the dispensary into the waiting room… as opposed to the exam room area. As a result, practitioners are seizing the opportunity to give their patients a chance to do some optical browsing, displaying both product and educational materials.

Of the items displayed in the waiting room, 86 percent of ECPs say they include brochures and educational materials, 69 percent have posters and countercards of models in eyewear, 62 percent have optical industry publications (so you may just be reading this issue of 20/20 as you sit in wait) and 59 percent display product.

Source: 20/20’s Retail Design Survey 2004

Point-of-purchase materials that are interesting and informative can be their own sales person. In fact, of those surveyed, 50 percent of practitioners perceive POP items as “somewhat useful” and 39 percent say they are “very useful.” Only 11 percent say POP is “not useful.”

The majority of ECPs rely heavily on manufacturer supplied POP (82 percent), while only 14.4 percent of dispensers are innovative and create their own display materials. However, 39 percent of dispensers say they do create some of their own POP items.

Of those manufacturer supplied materials, brochures (82.6 percent) and countercards (82.1 percent) are the most popular. Spin racks (41.5 percent) and demonstration kits (38.5 percent) follow. Premium items (such as T-shirts, perfume, handbags and books) account for 22.1 percent. Of the 10.3 percent who use “other” POP items, mentioned were posters, pamphlets and the Smart Mirror.

Lenses have a growing place in our surveyed dispensaries. ECPs devote 13.7 percent of display space to spectacle lenses, lens treatments and related information, a slight increase from last year (11.1 percent).
Showcasing Product

Source: 20/20’s Retail Design Survey 2004

Frame boards remain the favorite means of displaying eyewear mostly for their capacity to showcase a large amount of product. Of the total number of frames displayed, 75 percent go on boards. However, that number is actually lower than last year (84.8 percent). Display cases follow at 19.2 percent and only 2.1 percent of frames are displayed in store-front windows. “Other” items—including spin racks and shelves—account for 2.8 percent of product placement.

ECPs love to categorize product as it makes it much simpler for the patient to find. Of those surveyed, 76.9 percent compartmentalize sunwear, 69.8 percent display by gender, 65.8 percent by designer/brand names and 42.2 percent break out sports eyewear. Only 7.5 percent of dispensers group eyewear by color.

A Room of Their Own
Children can play an important role in an eyecare practice. Of the practices surveyed, 78.5 percent dedicate a separate display space for children (ages two to 14).

To cater to their younger patients, ECPs are setting up kids’ exhibition sections that include a variety of items to hold young, finicky attention spans. Books (58.5 percent) and toys (43.3 percent) are the most popular followed by a play area at 26.8 percent. Child-size furniture is in 18.9 percent of kids’ areas. Finally, videos round out the section at 6.1 percent.

From the smallest of patients on up, good dispensary display and layout can create a healthy bottom line for any ECP’s practice.

Source: 20/20’s Retail Design Survey 2004

Source: 20/20’s Retail Design Survey 2004

Source: 20/20’s Retail Design Survey 2004

Source: 20/20’s Retail Design Survey 2004

20/20’s Retail Design Survey 2004 was conducted in June of 2004 by Jobson Optical Research’s in-house research staff. The sample of 200 independent optical retailers was derived from the proprietary Jobson Optical Research Database. All participants were contacted by phone and asked a series of structured interview questions. No incentive was offered.

To ensure consistency in results, all surveys were conducted during the same May to June time period and followed the same methodology. Where available, three-year comparisons of survey results are provided. The analysis represents historical data and might reflect seasonal market fluctuations.

Jennifer Zupnick & Ashley Young
Jobson Optical Research