CONTINUING EDUCATION, 1 CE Credit � $9.99, 1 Hour, General Knowledge, Level 1, Release date: October 2007, Expiration date: October 31, 2012

merchant processing services

Merchant Processing Services

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Practice Management

Eye-Commerce

According to the latest statistics available from the U.S. Census Bureau, e-commerce accounts for nearly 13% of all sales of "health aids." This presumably includes eyeglasses and contact lenses. 

Although exact, up-to-date statistics are unavailable, there is no question that the Internet is becoming a more pervasive competitor of all health-care professionals. Opticians are no exception. I like to refer to the eyeglasses and contact lenses sold on the Internet as "Eye-Commerce," an optical jargon word that I am proud to say is of my own invention.

If you doubt that millions of dollars are spent on eyeglasses bought on the Net, simply open your favorite Web browser and type the word "eyeglasses" into your search engine. A recent search on Google yielded some amazing results. Before I even perused the names of the websites that appeared, I noticed in the corner of the page that my search had resulted in over 6,700,000 overall results. Certainly that includes all references to eyeglasses (e.g. frame companies, retailers, wholesalers, research papers, etc.), but look at it this way: If you viewed each of these individual web pages at a rate of one per second, twenty-four hours a day, it would take you nearly 13 years to view them all. Mind boggling.

Perhaps more startling are the website results that occurred. Here are the top five, as they appeared on my screen:

  • Lens Crafters

  • Eye Buy Direct

  • Frames Direct

  • Eyeglasses.com

  • All About Vision

Of the top five "hits," three of the companies sell frames or lenses directly to consumers over the Internet. EBD (Eye Buy Direct) offers frames starting "as low as $7.95." Frames Direct, which has been in business since 1996, boasts "over 100,000 frames on line," and claims more than 30,000 visitors to its site every day! Eyeglasses.com, which is one of the oldest and most comprehensive Web eyeglass sellers, is currently under reconstruction, and is only selling to previous customers via the telephone. 

Many times when the subject of Internet sellers is discussed among Eye Care Professionals, the conversation usually turns to whether or not these sites sell "legally." Then attention is turned to whether or not they are ethical or professional. To my way of thinking, those points are moot. The fact is they do exist, they do sell directly to consumers, and chances are they are not going away. Perhaps it would be better to turn our attention to how we can best coexist with these phantom dispensers. Here are a few suggestions.

Be ready. Get informed. Your best weapon in the battle against the Internet titans is knowing what you are up against. When a patient requests a copy of his prescription, be ready to inform him of what is risked by ordering over the Net. An explanation of the importance of measurements might be in order. Has he checked on the company's return policy? What if the prescription is not correct? Who will be responsible for adjusting, maintaining, and repairing these glasses? Is there a warranty? Initiating a conversation that poses these questions might get the patient thinking that price is only an issue in the absence of value. Your professionalism and service might be some things that tip the scale in your favor.

Partner with the Internet merchants. How? They offer many features on their websites that a resourceful Optician could integrate into their own practice. Many sites offer a feature where prospective customers can �virtually" try on nearly every frame in the Frame Facts catalogue. For example, Frames Direct calls it "Frame Finder Virtual Try On." A facial photo is emailed to the site, and any frame chosen magically appears on the face! Need a smaller size � it's just a click away. Add a tint. Add AR! Wow! Imagine how much technology and money it took to develop that service. Who's to say you couldn't promote such a service at your dispensary? Perhaps even advertise that you now feature over 100,000 different styles for patients to virtually try on. All it would take is an Internet connection and a digital camera. YOU could upload the patient's picture and YOU could facilitate the virtual fashion show. Your patient would be impressed, and you have just captured a sale.

Compete. I am not saying you should compete with "Neticians" in terms of pricing. All I am saying is you easily could compete with their pricing. The choice is yours, and I understand the arguments on both sides. While many of the prices I found on the Internet were bargains, they certainly aren't giving things away either. Check out this comparison. I went through the motions of ordering a pair of glasses on one of the aforementioned sites. The frame I chose was a Flexon 618 with polycarbonate, Varilux Panamic, Transitions, with an AR coating. The lenses priced out at $313. The frame sold for $119.90, for a total of $432.90. There were many shipping items, but I chose one in the middle - $14.95. This means the total price of the glasses would be $447.85. Now, just for fun, let's assume you told your customer that you would sell him the exact same pair at a 10% discount � meaning your sale price would be $403.06. Based on my average lab cost, your gross profit on that pair of glasses would be just over $124. Arguably, that's a whole lot better than zero. Not to mention the fact you have the opportunity to build a relationship that could result in a customer for life. And in the words of Martha Stewart: "That's a good thing."

Anthony Record
RDO

Anthony Record, RDO

Comments
Sign in or register to begin posting comments!
User Name:
Password:
Dannyboy
Posted: 9/4/2010 12:07:02 PM

The process of dispensing has to change for many reasons if we are to remain an independent profession. It makes no difference if you are an OD, OMD or a a licensed optician owner.Internet dispenser do make you look as thiefs for charging for your time, space and product displays. The process of dispensing should always start with taking digital pupillary measurements and using a trial frame to demonstrate distance, intermediate and near vision. Making sure that all three PDs measurements are entered in the trial frame. This process may take 10-15 minutes but will save you many headaches in the long run such as innacurate Rx reducing the cost of remakes, educating the patient on different options, such as computer or reading eyeglasses and above all it adds value to the PD measurement. If your patient is smart they would value this with every new script and eyewear duplication.If you do this procedure everytime you will standarize dispensing and even if your patient decides to get their PDs from you this can actually allows you to charge a decent fee. Sure some will balk at charging for this but a PD alone taken from a digital scale does a dsservice to your patient. We as Americans have to change, when you go to Europe they do not provide free soda refills like we do, heck sometimes they charge or decline allowing the use of their facilities unless you are their patron. So why not add value across the board to benefit your patient, your office and reduce remakes...
consor
Posted: 2/13/2011 5:58:59 PM

Anthony Great article lately we have been effected by our patients asking for PD's to buy on the internet. By the way do you have the name of an internet partner that is reputable to partner with to offer this service?
Ogden
Posted: 3/23/2011 7:22:04 PM

Do you have the names of these internet partners , Hey "if you can beat them join them"
zhyaoxiaiw
Posted: 8/6/2013 8:38:32 PM

Verify this out post to learn additional about health i . Taylormade golf ,The man was looking at the clubs about 11 a. Utilizing the guidance from this short article, it is possible to improve your abilities and turn into a far better golf player. Callaway golf , Following which it to be able to limit pretty substantially everything, you'll be able to uncover perhaps the really greatest strikers within the Versus united states on the inside Fernando Torres involving Liverpool as well as the capital fresh child David Apartment. You don't definitely must go for expensive gear, but what exactly is significant is definitely the high quality. Golf drivers , These two properties applied towards the head of a club result in much tougher ball effect together with the end result being far higher ball flight. Ping golf ,It's unusual to find clubs this early that are actually a set. Callaway golf , The face features a slight constructed in curve, normally known as a bulge and roll function that let the face to right the flight path of a golf ball not hit squarely.
zhyaoxiaiw
Posted: 8/6/2013 8:38:57 PM

Verify this out post to learn additional about health i . [url=http://www.leadingbrandsgolfclubs.co.uk/elegant-taylormade-golf.html]Taylormade golf[/url] ,The man was looking at the clubs about 11 a. Utilizing the guidance from this short article, it is possible to improve your abilities and turn into a far better golf player. [url=http://www.cheapestgolfclubsonline.com/buy-callaway-golf.html]Callaway golf[/url] , Following which it to be able to limit pretty substantially everything, you'll be able to uncover perhaps the really greatest strikers within the Versus united states on the inside Fernando Torres involving Liverpool as well as the capital fresh child David Apartment. You don't definitely must go for expensive gear, but what exactly is significant is definitely the high quality. [url=http://www.cheapestgolfclubsonline.com/]Golf drivers[/url] , These two properties applied towards the head of a club result in much tougher ball effect together with the end result being far higher ball flight. [url=http://www.golfclubsonsalenz.com/newest-ping-golf.html]Ping golf[/url] ,It's unusual to find clubs this early that are actually a set. [url=http://www.golfclubsonsalenz.com/newest-callaway-golf.html]Callaway golf[/url] , The face features a slight constructed in curve, normally known as a bulge and roll function that let the face to right the flight path of a golf ball not hit squarely.
Currently Viewing 5 of 5 Comments      
AUGUST ISSUE FEATURES

Eco-Friendly Eyewear and Sunwear
Offer your patients the latest innovative product designs for Eco-Friendly eyewear and sunwear...

How Green Is Your Office?
Ideas on how to implement your staff and patients when your practice transitions to "Green"
...

Profiting from the "Green" Revolution
Adding eco-friendly frames and lenses to your inventory can increase sales and profit margins in your practice...
It's All About Green!
Being relatively new to the optical profession is an exciting and rewarding time. Some helpful hints for your journey...
Going Paperless: More Than Saving Paper
The ability to access invoices online for optical labs, not only saves paper, but also makes it easier to use...
Considering Anatomy in the Dispensary
Build relationships through your extensive knowledge of the "eye" and convey that to your patients...
Lasik Surgery Complications
Should I or shouldn’t I take the risk of eliminating the need for eyeglasses or contact lenses through eye surgery?...
Be Your Own Boss
Having your own optical shop is a wonderful thing but you have many bosses— they are called your patients...
Men's Fashion Eyewear
Appeal to your most fashion conscious male patients by offering the latest in men's eyewear...
LIKE US ON FACEBOOK

Send press releases to: editor@ecpmag.com
 
 
 
All content is the property of ECPMag.com� OptiCourier Ltd. &  assoc. vendors. Website Powered and Developed by EyeVertise.com - 847.202.1411 | email