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Retail Strategies

February 2019 Retail Strategies

Frame of Mind

It has been eight months since I have become an apprentice optician. Every working day is an opportunity to learn different techniques and apply my knowledge. If there’s one thing I’ve noticed since working in this field, it’s that people need to feel comfortable with who is helping them. Although every optician encounters those patients who refuse almost every suggestion made to them about lens treatments, materials, frame choice, etc., it is still important to try to relate to them and fulfill their needs. Being approachable and friendly will work, but patients gravitate more towards confidence. If there is a way to relate to them on a personal level, they value my recommendations instead of viewing me as another person who is solely seeking sales. Furthermore, I establish a comfort-zone and consequently they willingly share the appropriate information to enable me to design the perfect pair of glasses.
January 2019 Retail Strategies

Taking Charge: Building a Better Optician

As an Optician, how do you see yourself? Are you the one who takes the order, or are you the one who chooses the best lens, selects the frame that best suits and fits the patient and helps craft both your patient’s look as well as their vision? I don’t know about you, but I am firmly the latter choice. If you don’t see yourself in that manner, then neither do your patients. Want to change the perception? Read on, my friend.
January 2019 Retail Strategies

Adventures in Eavesdropping: To Tray, or Not to Tray?

During the recent holidays, it was easier to delve more deeply into my secret-shopping of various brick-and-mortar opticals. The increased foot traffic allowed me to blend in more easily, while the influx of new merchandise for holiday and FSA shoppers provided lots of new stuff to look at and created new sorts of interactions with staff. For the most part, it was unremarkable. In spite of the stress of the season, opticians were on their best behavior—no eight “Are you still doing OK?”s in the course of twenty minutes, as I recalled in an earlier column, or belligerent sales staff trying to pressure me into buying something. In fact, my experiences were downright pleasant. I’ve been encountering a certain technique more and more lately, though, and it’s given me a bit of food for thought about how we present our frames to our patients off the frame board.
December 2018 Retail Strategies

The Hygienic Optician

I am not a germ freak...well, I could go down that road, but that is not the reason for addressing the important topic of infection control and hygiene in the optical dispensary. This topic was brought to my attention by one of our soon to be graduating Vision Care Technology students. This student has an extensive background in healthcare and is cognizant of the importance and necessity of handwashing and practicing hygiene. After observing interactions in dispensaries over the years, she noticed that the opticians would go from patient to patient without ever washing their hands. Is that what is done in your office? Hand washing is an effective and easy way to reduce the spread of germs and should be done before and after touching a patient. This is even more important now that flu season is here.
December 2018 Retail Strategies

Style Mavens Unite

Are you taking the time to think back on what has been 2018? I know it’s not quite over yet, but we’re inching in on 2019 and it’s amazing the changes we’ve seen in such a short time. We’ve seen the old school aviator, a frame usually chosen by older men, become popular for teenage girls. We’ve seen the round P3 frame style absolutely blow up. We’ve seen mirrors of all colors used in combination with photochromics. How about the crystal frames, and now metal and zyl combination pieces? I don’t know about you, but this is making me think of what next year will bring and how we will innovate in order to bring what is new and amazing to our little corners of the world.
December 2018 Retail Strategies

Make Time for Staff Training

Whether you work for a large corporation or for a small business, answer the following questions. Is there enough time during the day to properly train your staff? Is there a formal training plan in place for new and current employees? If you answered yes, you are in better shape than many of your peers.
December 2018 Retail Strategies

The Optician of the Future

You’d have to have been hiding under a rock somewhere if you haven’t yet discovered that there are some companies offering glasses for your patients to purchase online. (And at prices that are hard to compete with.) So, it’s here, people. The apocalypse that has long been predicted. But, I don’t think it is as scary as the nay-sayers think. I actually think the advent of online creates opportunities for human opticians to become great. So, while the internet is trying to pass itself off as an optician, what can actual opticians do to distinguish themselves?
September 2018 Fitting and Adjusting Frames

Adventures in Eavesdropping: The Adjustment Shuffle

Confession time: I can’t adjust my own glasses. That’s not to impugn my own abilities at fixing other people’s—I did just fine during many years of tinkering with temples and noodling nosepads. In all fairness, though, I never lived up to the Montgomery Scott-like abilities of my old colleague Dawn Gibbs at Texas State Optical in Magnolia, who could seemingly adjust a pair of frames that’d been run over by a semi and have them feeling even more comfortable than before the accident. When it comes to my own glasses, however, I’m rather like the master barber who can’t cut his own hair. They’re just too close, too personal, and I’m too finicky.
September 2018 Retail Strategies

Two Ears, One Mouth

My nephew called the other night. Mark is a 36-year-old bachelor in a demanding profession, so I don’t hear from him often, and understandably so. This time he had an “eye question.” He’d just been to the eye doctor and got a mild minus prescription for night driving. “I think the salesperson was trying to upsell me,” he said. “He told me I needed some kind of trifocal lens for the computer, but I don’t need the glasses for the computer. The salesperson sounded like he was reading from a script and told me about blue blockers. Do I need blue blockers at night? I don’t think he knew what he was doing.” Mark left without purchasing glasses.
August 2018 Business

The Optician of the Future

You’d have to have been hiding under a rock somewhere if you haven’t yet discovered that there are some companies offering glasses for your patients to purchase online. (And at prices that are hard to compete with.) So, it’s here, people. The apocalypse that has long been predicted. But, I don’t think it is as scary as the nay-sayers think. I actually think the advent of online creates opportunities for human opticians to become great. So, while the internet is trying to pass itself off as an optician, what can actual opticians do to distinguish themselves?