While good customer service and relationships are essential to a thriving optical practice, looks count too. A dispensary’s display and design is many times perceived by customers as a reflection on the practitioner and his/her employees. That’s why the most successful ECPs pay attention to such details as careful positioning of countercards, proper lighting of showcases and arrangement and stocking of frame boards (there’s nothing more shabby looking than a half stocked frame board).
Indeed, respondents to 20/20’s Retail Design Survey 2003 say point-of-purchase materials are a key ingredient in their practice. Specifically, 32.1 percent of ECPs perceive POP materials to be “very important” and 50.7 percent find them to be “somewhat important” for their practice. Only 17.2 percent say POP is “not important.”
Sitting in Wait
Recently, waiting rooms have become increasingly more vital when it comes to displaying product. Of the 92.9 percent of respondents who have waiting rooms set up in their practices, 62.6 percent also incorporate the dispensary into that area with 56.2 percent displaying actual product there. ECPs say this gives patients a chance to “browse” before their exam.
Waiting rooms have the benefit of a captive audience, therefore dispensers like to include other product-related items in the area; 91.1 percent place product brochures in the waiting room while 70.2 percent display photos of models in eyewear. There’s also a good chance customers may be reading this copy of 20/20 in the waiting room as 56.3 percent put industry publications there.
A variety of point-of-purchase materials, mainly provided by manufacturers, continue to be used by dispensers. In 2002, vendor-supplied items accounted for 84.2 percent—slightly less than in 2001, 85.3 percent. Only 14.4 percent get creative by employing POP they’ve provided themselves, which is an increase from 12.6 percent in 2001. However, 45.9 percent of dispensers say they do create their own POP items.
Of those manufacturer-supplied items, the majority are brochures (89.6 percent) and countercards (83.8 percent). Spin racks follow at 54.0 percent and demonstration kits at 52.7 percent. Premium items such as T-shirts, perfume, books and toys account for 25.4 percent. Of the 3.8 percent who use “other” POP materials, mentioned were pens, cleaners and place mats.
Lenses have a place in the dispensary’s display space. ECPs devote 11.1 percent of this space to spectacle lenses, lens treatments and/or related information.
Get on Board
Frame boards still reign supreme. Of the total number of frames displayed, 84.8 percent go on the boards. That’s higher than last year (73.3 percent). Display cases follow at 15.6 percent and only 1.9 percent of frames go into the optical’s store-front window. “Other” items—which respondents say includes coffee tables, countertops and open drawers—account for 0.7 percent of where product is placed.
Little things mean a lot. A large number—85.3 percent—of practices dedicate a separate display space for children (ages two to 14).
To cater to kids, dispensers are setting aside space that includes a multitude of things to hold young, finicky attention spans. Books (65.9 percent) and toys (58.7 percent) are the most popular items. A play area follows at 41.3 percent. Child-size furniture is in 32.7 percent of kids’ areas and videos are in 4.9 percent of children’s sections. Some of the 3.5 percent ECPs who responded “other” include such items as posters and mobiles. One clever dispenser has African gray parrots in the kids’ section.
Looks matter. Well-done display and POP strengthen the retail environment and in turn heightens the buying experience for customers of all ages.