by Josh Primm
In part 1 of our Stop the Walk series, we addressed the challenge independent optometrists have with capture rate on materials sales. The trend toward retail and online optical has been building momentum for a number of years, and it’s to a point now that it’s really starting to sting.
So why are patients not buying from you? It just seems logical that a person would purchase the medical device that improves his or her vision from the doctor that actually diagnosed and prescribed the treatment for the condition, right? The issue lies with the fact that we treat these patients like patients without considering the fact that they are also consumers. To effectively sell a product, it’s important to dig deeper into the psyche of your customer to better understand their needs and wants rather than just their chief complaint and condition.
Though the economy is now in recovery from the 2008 recession, Americans have developed a persistent cost-cutting mindset. As of 2015, nearly 40 percent of consumers have reported a cut in spending over the past 12 months, and 55 percent say they are looking for ways to cut costs in the coming year.
The result of this cost-cutting mindset is a new set of values for your patients/customers:
- Shopping based on price alone
- Comparison shopping for the best deal
- Researching online, leading to buying online
- Downgrading to less expensive brands or private label products
The reality is that despite an economic improvement since the recession, most consumers say that they will probably never return to their pre-recession approach to spending.
Millennials complicate these factors even further. They pay even more attention to prices and use coupons to shop around more than other demographics, but they want the information quickly. In a world where the answer to anything you could ever want to know is in your pocket, customers may even discover how your price, quality and value stack up against the competition while sitting in your waiting area.
Step 2 in our Stop the Walk series focuses on a very simple way to meet the wants and needs of customers today – offering package (or bundled) pricing. By combining products at a discounted price, you simplify the buying process which helps them better understand the value of purchasing while in your office.
Where do I start?
Not all practices are the same. Some might find their patient base is primarily made up of Baby Boomers, others might focus on Millennials. You might find that you have a high percentage of Medicaid/Medicare or vision plan business. Despite where you might fall into the mix, there are a couple key factors to consider that will help your new program be as effective as possible.
Keep it simple
With so many frame and lens options available today, there can be a natural tendency to overcomplicate things. Remember that patients gravitate toward things that are easy to understand quickly, so bundle the most common lens options together in your price (for example: frame, lens and anti-reflection coating).
Make it Affordable
No matter how simple you make your package price, if it’s not affordable or comparable to the market, the perception of any value goes away. A large number of your patients don’t care about the brand of lenses or treatments you sell, so trying to justify a significantly higher price for branded product won’t resonate with them.
Be transparent about price
There’s a perception out there it’s always more expensive to buy from the doctor, because often times it’s true. Online sellers bank on this perception, and base their business model on winning the price war. Acknowledge your patient’s worries about cost and display your value pricing openly. The more transparent and upfront about price you are, the more your patient will trust you and feel comfortable with making a buying decision while still in the office.
Lower your cost of goods
For a value line package pricing strategy to work, you simply can’t use high price materials that many major laboratories sell. Giving independent optometrists an alternative to the options available in the current lab model is the driving force behind VCD Labs. The truth is that great technology doesn’t have to come with a hefty price tag.
A sampling of pricing for IECP providers through VCD Labs:
|COMPLETE EYEWEAR PRICING
Includes frame, lens, edging and high-end AR coating
|Single Vision – CR – 39||$25.00|
|Single Vision with Resolution® Polycarbonate||$35.00|
|Acuity® PAL – CR39||$53.00|
|Acuity® PAL with Resolution® Polycarbonate||$59.00|
60 piece frame kit for $99
From now through the end of April, the 60 piece frame collection for the Complete Eyewear ordering through VCD Labs is just $99. That’s a discount of over $250 off standard retail price.
Register for an account with VCD Labs and get your kit for $99.
Questions about VCD Labs or want more information about how to make a package pricing option work for your practice?
Josh Primm is the Marketing and Business Development Director for Independent Eye Care Professionals. A native of the rural town of Augusta, Kansas, Josh has experienced the value of having a local independent optometrist his entire life. His passion for furthering independent optometry is eclipsed only by his first two loves: his wife Audrie and daughter Emma Grace.