By Jamie Wilson
The optical landscape has been a tumultuous one especially for independent optical retailers and ECPs. Despite the challenges facing independents, like competition from online retailers, big box and chain businesses as well as managed care issues, business conducted by independent ECPs still accounts for nearly two-thirds of the industry, representing 61.0 percent of all U.S. optical revenues, according to GeoMetrics by Jobson Optical Research.
Over the past few years, the rise of ECP alliances and business and practice management groups have helped many independents find ways to learn and compete in the new market atmosphere.
In addition, many independent opticians, optometric practices and boutiques are recommitting to building relationships with customers and patients in their markets, and bolster visibility and relationships within their local communities.
Some of them are, in fact, part of a burgeoning “movement” that is embracing and redefining small and local business. That’s because a growing number of consumers across the country are exhibiting a renewed interest in “shopping local,” and building their own ties to the merchants, services and organizations that are in their own backyard.
In this first installment of a 2016 series, Optical on Main Street, Vision Monday is exploring what it takes to succeed on Main Street today. We’re talking to business experts and fiercely independent ECPs to explore the nitty gritty of what is bringing consumers back to Main Street, whether it’s a connection to the history of their towns and neighborhoods, to unparalleled customer service and unique products.
We spoke to sources as diverse as American Express, the National Federation for Independent Business and retail experts like Unity Marketing. We’ve also talked about “local” with a diverse range of optical retailers and ECPs. We found that from Millennials to Boomers, consumers want value in their purchases as well as a personalized touch from business owners in both the fashion and medical realms of optical.
This shift in consumer attitudes can be highlighted by growing events such as American Express’ Small Business Saturday, an event which was launched on Nov. 27, 2010 to encourage people across the country to support small, local businesses. Now in its sixth year, the event has continued to gain momentum among consumers.
Continue reading on VisionMonday.com »