What Optometry Practices Need to Know About Selling Eyewear Online
Updated: Aug 1, 2022
If you own a private optometry practice, you have more of a competitive edge than you think in selling eyewear online. After years of experience, there are four things I would recommend you do to engage existing clients, continue attracting new ones online, and turn all patients into loyal eyewear shoppers.
4 Ways Private Practice Optometry Can Achieve Success Selling Eyewear Online
Any process of marketing trial and error can be time consuming and grueling, so here is the sum of what I’ve learned to achieve success online and the software I used to do it.
1. Sign Up for an Omnichannel eCommerce Platform with Automations
Patients are used to browsing or buying from online retailers like Amazon that provide them a world class digital experience. It is an instant turn off if they arrive at an online store that feels outdated or has poor quality content that doesn’t speak to them.
With a powerful Omnichannel eCommerce platform like Optify, that integrates seamlessly with your website and EHR or PMS, your patients receive a world class experience that they can trust from the first visit. And with marketing and inventory sync automations, the heavy lifting of setting up and managing your site is magically removed.
With this approach, patients stay in your digital ecosystem instead of being passed off to a 3rd party eyewear seller. Better yet, you pay a fraction of the cost that you would spend trying to build it all out yourself or trying to customize generalist platforms like Shopify (great for hats, not great for prescription glasses).
TIPS: Make sure that the omnichannel eCommerce platform you choose resides on a subdomain of your primary URL (eg. shop.drsmith.com). Or rather, that it is attached and integrated directly with your already existing website.
Doing this ensures that you receive an essential SEO benefit from local eyewear searches and keeps patients engaged with your practice directly. Optify does this automatically. Ultimately this means that if someone in your area searches for eyewear - they are far more likely to encounter your website, schedule an appointment with you if needed, and buy directly from your practice. It all directs to and stays within your digital ecosystem.
2. Capture Attention with Tailored Content
Here’s a secret: big optical doesn’t know their audience on a personal level like you do. Neither do they boast patient-doctor relationships or understand specific patient needs– but you do. All they have are big budgets, demographics and sales statistics to work with.
As a private practice owner, you know what your patients want because you actually see and know them. You have all the data you need to provide a high degree of customization for your marketing content. So use this to your advantage to save time and increase revenue for your practice.
Using that information, construct a blog for your practice that directly connects to your audience and drives them toward your website’s online store. Not only will the right topics and keywords catch the eyes of your patients, but it has the added advantage of shining in the search algorithms for additional business from searches in your area.
Meaningful and relatable content will translate directly to sales if you link it to your online store.
It’s important to keep in mind that it often takes several “touches” (encounters with your website or social channels) before a new patient “converts” to making a purchase or an appointment. This is why regularly creating and posting content is so beneficial. It always pays off. Creating a basic content calendar with a Google Sheet or Excel is a great way to stay on track and consistent.
TIPS: Write blog posts with titles like “Glasses for small faces in Peoria, IL”, or “State Optical Eyeglass Trunk Show in San Diego, CA”, or “The Best Optical Shop for Ray-ban in Deluth, IA", or "Should I Buy Glasses Online From My Local Optometrist".
These blog posts examples are specific to what your patients are looking for and specific to your location, making it more likely that individuals in your area will see your practice pop up in an online search.
Within each post, be sure to include links to your online store – not to the eyewear brand’s website. Make the posts relevant to your practice and do so consistently – write one at least every month. These can be subcontracted out and with a little editing by your optician, you can post it on your website.
3. Get Email Contact Information Through Promotions
You’ve seen those 10% off promotion pop-ups for new customers on just about every website you visit. There is a reason for them–they work! Done correctly they respectfully ask for the visitor’s info.
When that new patient prospect is visiting your website and browsing your eyewear they are doing it anonymously. If they haven’t booked an appointment or bought anything on their own, we need to give them a reason to provide their information (name and email) so we can stay in touch with them and provide another, more enticing, touch point. One of the best ways to do this is via an email capture popup form on your website.
Now that you have an Omnichannel eCommerce enabled website through Optify, you can join best in class retailers that have been doing this practice for years.
TIPS: Use Optify’s Google Tag Manager (GTM) to quickly and easily add email/phone capture pop ups to any page on your website. Offer a new patient rebate or discount to use in-office or online and see your sales rate increase.
4. Retarget With Automated Email Marketing
Chances are, you’ve made a purchase online after getting a reminder email. We all get busy and forget that we’ve left something in our cart or we've gotten distracted and had to quickly leave a website we were browsing. Automated follow-up emails work to recapture that attention and remind a patient why they were browsing your website to begin with.
Because you are local, have the best eyewear brands in the world in-store and online, and understand a patient’s needs, you can tailor these automated marketing emails to speak directly to your patients in a way that will resonate. Don’t hesitate to personalize messaging and marketing ads to bring patients back to browse your inventory or come into the office.
TIPS: Put those customers and potential new patients who have browsed your website into an automated email campaign, reminding them to come back for the products they added to their cart. Optify makes creating and sending automated emails easy.
You are a member of the community and have relationships at your disposal to retain business more successfully than a big name eyewear seller.
Now You Have The Tools To Compete With Online Eyewear Sellers
After a lot of trial and error on how to best sell and promote my own optical brand online, these were the top factors that led me to success. It’s my hope that by providing this information, other businesses out there like yours can fast-track to a profitable online omnichannel experience that appeals directly to your patient base, produces extra internet traffic, and encourages the continual growth of your business.
My omnichannel eCommerce company, Optify, was created specifically to meet this need for private practices. It is the culmination of the guidelines I shared above (and many more) into a single, powerful piece of software.
Optify sets you up to supercharge what you’ve already built by wrapping it all together into a sleek digital storefront with functional marketing initiatives that opticians can intuitively integrate into their already existing sales strategy. Better yet - onboarding is fast and simple.
If your eyewear selection only exists within your brick-and-mortar office and you wonder where those walkouts go, or why more patients aren’t buying multi pairs–it’s because you need an online option and follow-up marketing tools.
The good news is it’s not too late to jump in and get started.
Book a 15-minute demo with us today to learn more.
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