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  • Writer's pictureDave Barton

Why Patient Relationships Are Key to Successful Optical eCommerce

Updated: Aug 25, 2022

Patient relationships are the key to a thriving optical eCommerce strategy. These relationships give you a major advantage in the market. The truth is, patients are less likely to buy from other eyewear sellers when they have a good relationship with their local Optometrist and the optical staff at their practice.

As an optician and owner of a private eyewear brand, I realized that the patient relationships provide a competitive advantage that completely changed how I approached optical marketing—personalizing marketing to patients when they are most receptive to it. The ability to do this effectively is your superpower–data. Any private practice owner with a loyal patient base has this data in addition to established patient relationships.

You Have Data That Online Eyewear Sellers Wish They Had to Boost Optical eCommerce

Big optical struggles to keep their customer insights on a level playing field with the hometown optical shops. Why? Because mega eyewear sellers lack an extremely crucial component of the optical buying journey that many private practices already have (and take for granted): the patient relationship and history –aka patient data.

In my years of business, I’ve come to understand that you can rapid-fire emails and promotions to people all day long, but if you aren’t catching them at the right time, your efforts will end up in the spam folder faster than a patient requests their PD.

Even if you are off a banner year in your optical, more and more of a patient’s future potential business is lost because you missed an opportunity to market to them when it matters the most. Timing is crucial and you have everything you need to get it right.

Use Your Data to Engage Patients When It Matters Most

Patients are far more receptive to buying frames at certain stages in their eyewear journey. As their Eye Care Professional (ECP), you know the best time to market to them before anyone else.

I’ve learned about the importance of utilizing patient data to narrow a practice’s pitches. It’s much better to meet someone where they are—say, right after they get their new prescription or are due for their yearly comprehensive exam—and advertise inventory rather than go for the “spray and pray” approach that bigger companies are forced to do. This is a major advantage you have.

If you play your cards right, well-timed emails stand to increase open rates from 20% to 80%, and click-through rates from 4% to 40%.

The trick is finding a system to keep up with the thousands of patient profiles in your electronic health record (EHR) or practice management system (PMS). It’s possible to hire more hands to make the massive task somewhat feasible in-office, but even then, mistakes are bound to happen, and the setup is costly. There’s a lot of proactive work that needs to be done.

Remove the Guesswork for Fast Results

Optify integrates with your EHR or PMS to pull out the right data and act at the right time. All that efficiency lets you stay focused on your work while knowing your optical department is getting the most out of your patient relationships. And your patients win too with a more transparent, inclusive, efficient shopping experience.

Huge trends in the market are causing patients to favor highly personalized experiences that give me plenty of options to work with. This fact can’t be forgotten, as leveraging your patient data won’t mean much if prospects are turned away by unattractive e-commerce interfaces or inadequate technology.

Not to worry: since Optify was created specifically with optometrists and opticians in mind, it comes packaged with plenty of pre-shop features that give patients exactly what they’re looking for while keeping your marketing game strong with walk-out tools. Individual data is utilized as efficiently as possible to reach out when a patient hits specific milestones in their buying journey, including when they just received a new prescription or have a yearly appointment due.

These are the moments to strike the iron while it’s hot. Optify automates the entire process for you. Don’t let the potential behind your amazing patient relationships go to waste.

Book a 15-minute demo to see how Optify helped me and many others achieve the optical success every private practice owner deserves.

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