This article is reprinted with kind permission from Review of Optometric Business

Your optical provides a stage to show patients what is new and exciting in eyewear. In my office, we added a showcase wall to place a focus on just that. By featuring a new product or optical frame line every month, we create differentiation and educational opportunities for our patients. Our patients have become accustomed to seeing something new and different every time they come to the office, so it serves as a great merchandising area and marketing strategy.

An optical showcase wall highlights what you want your patients to notice. This creates discussion points, which creates an opportunity to educate, which in turn, sells product or product features. We’ve been using our showcase wall since I moved into our new building about two years ago. It has helped to improve sales. Most practices have noticed that there are certain “dead” spots for product in an optical. Once we move product out of the “dead spot” (we don’t know what makes a dead spot, by the way), it does much better, especially if we feature it on the showcase wall. It reminds us that constantly changing your merchandising displays is important for sales.

Build Based on Existing Products
A showcase wall is created simply by using the products and point-of-sale materials you already have in your office. For instance, you may want to feature a new frame line that’s just come in.

Create various layers and different displays to feature that new frame line, and perhaps have a sign that details what sets this line apart, or makes it unique. Maybe the frame line is more fashion-forward, so you can feature it with some great high heels/shoes/purses, which serve as props for the glasses.

Or perhaps you are showcasing a new technology, such as blue-light blocking lenses. Use a laptop or tablet in the display to “hang” the glasses, which creates interest, as well as support, of what the highlighted product is used for.

Currently, we are featuring a higher-end reader product that also has a reader sunglass. We mix-up our high-end features with everyday “common” product purchases to appeal to a wide variety of patient tastes.

Change Monthly to Maintain Interest

Typically, the showcase wall is changed monthly. My entire staff usually contributes to the ideas of what should be featured, and our opticians will carry out the transformation. We all contribute items for the display when necessary. We usually just use what we have in the office or at our homes, and we also ask for point-of-sale material from our vendors. Occasionally, we will need to buy something, but it’s usually quite small. We spend less than $50 per year on our showcase wall.

That's not a bad investment, considering my sales revenues in the optical are up 40 percent (even though patient numbers are up only 10 percent) compared to last year. I believe that creative display approaches, like our showcase wall, have contributed to that growth.

Get the Staff On Board
Our entire staff gets excited about our monthly concept for the showcase wall. Many of our staff are fashion-conscious, and they rise to the tasks.To make this a dynamic and exciting group project, ask your staff members to:

  • Suggest ideas at staff meetings
  • Think of creative objects they have and can display
  • Assign task to individuals

After you have created a display, recognize creative ideas and execution with praise.

We brainstorm as we go along, as we bring in new products or lines, and will decide together what we think are the most important products to showcase. We vary our themes to attempt to have appealing products for all tastes. For instance, one month might feature more fashion-forward frames, while another month may feature more traditional, or even retro frames, while another month might feature frames that are new to our shop, but more on the conservative side.

We post pictures of the showcase walls we are really proud of in our e-mail newsletters, which extends the marketing impact of the showcase wall. You also can feature photos of your showcase walls on your practice web site and social media pages, such as on Facebook and Instagram. This allows you to get more mileage out of your efforts. Even though patients may only return to the office two times per year, you are letting them see the changes through social media.

Tie Showcase Wall to Promotions
We don’t usually tie in any sales/deals/specials to our optical wall, but one time we promoted multiple-pair sales with a "Why you need multiple pairs of eyewear” showcase wall. We featured different pairs of shoes scattered across the wall with the message: “You don’t use one pair of shoes for every activity, so why would you use one pair of glasses?” (Courtesy of Vision Source marketing). We featured our multiple-pair discount as a part of the messaging.

Gina Wesley, OD, MS, FAAO, owns Complete Family Eyecare of Medina, Minn.
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