How to Attract Millennials to Your Optical Store - Smart Vision Labs

Bridging the Gap Between Your Optical Store and Millennials

Bridging the Gap Between Your Optical Store and Millennials

Yes, I did say Millennials. And yes, they are crucial to the success of any business.

The preceding generations like to poke fun at the Millennials — as we’re supposedly wedded to our smartphones, inundated with technology, and consumed with an insatiable desire for instant gratification. But are these really such bad things?

Of all the generations, Millennials are by far the largest, making up for almost 92 million Americans. And as they begin reaching their primary years of working and spending, their impact on businesses and the economy as a whole is going to be monumental. The fact of the matter is that its population size coupled with these attributes — those that are so frequently made into the punchlines of jokes — is exactly why they can either make or break your business.

A recent study showed that the Millennial Generation is expected to spend more than $200 billion annually starting in 2017 and around $10 trillion in their lifetimes. Recognizing how vital it is to capture their business is the first step to bridging this potentially large gap between your store and this generation, and subsequently creating a lasting, successful business.

The importance of marketing your product specifically towards them

In order to capture a younger customer base, you must first market your product in a way that will specifically appeal to them. Out of a survey of 6,000 optical stores, 80% of them said that the Millennial Generation is either “important” or “very important” to their business. And of the same sample of stores, respondents said that 45% of their stores’ frame assortments target a Millennial customer base. Carrying a product that will bring in their business will drastically improve your sales, as they’re the generation spending more money than any other, and saving far less.

Millennials are all about encountering the world on their own terms. They’re the first generation to have grown up on personalized internet marketing, only one click away from hundreds of options tailored specifically for them. Perhaps why there’s such a negative connotation with the word “Millennial,” this generation expects to receive exactly what they want, customized to their particular preferences, and — as if this wasn’t already enough — we want it instantly.

Do brand names really drive sales?

Not entirely. Well, at least that’s the case for Millennials. No longer do we live in the days where everyone’s buying the reflective “Top Gun”-esque aviators. And well, maybe that’s not such a bad thing… Younger generations today increasingly care more about cost and quality than they do with what’s considered to be “cool,” especially when it comes to fashion trends. The way Millennials perceive fashion trends is on par with that of music trends; “Ha, I only liked that song before it became popular.” We are, after all, the “hipster” generation.

A recent study shows that 55% of people ages 16-24 and 56% of 25-34-year-olds disagree with the statement that they tend to buy branded products. Even when shopping in stores, with smartphones readily available, consumers today tend to compare prices and quality of similar products when making purchases. With their particular affinity for technology, the entire retail industry is changing, as the ability to read reviews on what’s supposedly the “hottest brand” might dissuade consumers from purchasing them when they read that you’re paying for the brand, not the quality.

So the primary takeaway here; when you’re marketing towards Millennials, focusing solely on a product’s brand name does not suffice in making a sale.

Let’s go back to this whole “instant gratification” idea

As I said earlier, one of the main attributes of the Millennial Generation is their natural aptitude for technology. With technology comes convenience, satisfying one of the primary desires that so many Millennials have: a need for instant gratification. Millennials have often been called the “Convenience Generation,” the first to grow up with so many aspects of our lives being facilitated with technology and the Internet. So it shouldn’t be a surprise to hear that a recent study concluded that 70% of Millennials say they care most about convenience when it comes to making purchase decisions. But we swear — we’re really not lazy…

The stereotypes of us are somewhat justified — we do have unhealthy obsessions with our smartphones. We get rides from Uber, we listen to music on Spotify, we order food from Seamless, we even find dates on our phones through Tinder or Bumble. Everything is either a click — or a swipe right — away. From ordering late-night Chinese food to “ordering” potential significant others, we’re used to getting what we want, when we want it. Chances are if it’s not a convenient transaction, we’re probably not interested.

But I’m not saying that this means all shopping gets done on the Internet. Particularly in urban cities, with the ease and convenience of dozens of stores being located within single digit block radiuses of each other, many young people still return to the old brick-and-mortar stores in their neighborhood to do their shopping.

But even on a larger scale of all types of locations, a slight majority do, in fact, prefer in-store shopping. A recent survey of Millennial respondents showed that 53% of them still shop in stores, and not online. Consequently, ensuring that your store has options specifically geared towards and personalized to Millennials will prove to be remarkably beneficial to your business and will substantially increase your capture rates.

The Benefits of Optical Telemedicine - Smart Vision Labs Infographic

So what’s the big picture?

Millennials are increasingly “swiping right” on telemedicine and adopting Smart Vision Labs technologyIn the grand scheme of things, the most substantial statistic of them all is that 70% of Millennials care most about convenience when making purchase decisions. So now imagine this; what if you could have the ability to adopt a certain technology that will satisfy this fundamental aspect of their shopping habits. Well, you easily can.

Optical telemedicine can significantly help in attracting a younger customer base, and Smart Vision Labs’ partners have already seen significant improvements in sales by implementing telemedicine in-store vision exams. Through an inexpensive 5-minute exam, with no appointment necessary, optical stores who use the Smart Vision exam have been successful in attracting Millennial customers, and have even been able to grow their business by 25% or more in only a few months.

We truly are the “Convenience Generation,” primarily focused on fulfilling our need for instant gratification. We’re wedded to our smartphones and any other type of technology that makes our lives easier and allows us to waste more time scrolling through irrelevant clickbait on the Internet. Technology has revitalized almost every aspect of our daily lives, and the trends are showing that Millennials are increasingly “swiping right” on telemedicine.

Related Posts

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Vision Industry Disruptors! International Edition

Issy Bonebrake is a born-again New Yorker living down in the Village. She considers herself to be a self-proclaimed, cautiously optimistic futurist. As a classic rock aficionado, she enjoys binge watching rockumentaries from the coziness of her less than 500 square footage apartment. Issy is a happily dissatisfied Millennial.


Telemedicine at Smart Vision Labs

Telemedicine Is Not the Future: It’s the Present

Telemedicine Is Not the Future: It’s the Present

If you ask most healthcare professionals about telemedicine, you’ll most likely receive a response indicating profound interest and support for these changes to the current healthcare system. Telemedicine has the ability to connect patients with doctors through the convenience of smartphones, computers, and the internet. And more and more doctors are adopting this innovative technology to treat their patients. It allows for a primary care or allied health professional to consult remotely with a patient and, if needed, a specialist assisting the primary care provider, to render a diagnosis and develop a treatment plan.

An increasing number of patients are expressing their interest in receiving treatment through telemedicine. A recent study showed that 77% of respondents would be treated virtually, but only 20% of them have actually done it. The healthcare market’s supply of telemedicine is not yet fulfilling consumer demand. But research suggests that the growth of the telemedicine market is about to soar.

Who is Using Telemedicine?

The impact of telemedicine is already increasing exponentially. Currently, over half of all U.S hospitals now use some form of telemedicine, a number predicted to increase with the profound number of healthcare services that can be offered through telemedicine. And aside from just hospitals, over 90% of healthcare executives have already begun developing or implementing a telemedicine program into their organizations. Through these technologies, doctors can provide treatment for chronic disease management, mental/behavioral health, rehabilitation, dermatology, radiology, primary care, vision care, etc. It’s no surprise that its influence is becoming so widespread.

Currently, there are over 200 telemedicine networks, with 3,500 service sites in the U.S. To put that into perspective, just speaking in terms of cardiac care, almost one million Americans are currently using remote cardiac monitors. Think about the other millions of patients using telemedicine for other types of treatment. As consumers continue to search for low-cost and convenient treatment options, healthcare facilities that offer such types of treatment will likely be rewarded with numerous patients’ business. Telemedicine’s reach extends far beyond just the U.S., with over 2.1 million people receiving annual diabetic retinopathy telemedicine exams in the U.K. Such exams have significantly reduced the cases of new blindness amongst adults.

The increasing impact of telemedicine - Smart Vision Labs Infographic

Why You Should Take Part in the Telemedicine Revolution

Despite some controversy surrounding telemedicine — with certain Doctors skeptical that patients will rely solely on these new technologies and neglect their necessary in-person checkups — many doctors are embracing these new technologies, believing that telemedicine is shaping the future of healthcare by facilitating their single largest goal: treating as many people as possible. And thanks to telemedicine, this is now more possible than ever. The benefits of becoming a telemedicine doctor are seemingly endless. Take a look at these five aspects that telemedicine doctors’ consider to be the best parts of the job:

Helping as many patients as possible:

Telemedicine helps bridge the often large gap between doctors and patients. Through managing both time and distance, these technologies provide on-call care while transferring unnecessary in-person visits to the convenience of virtual ones. In particular, people living in rural areas who are hindered by mobility or transportation issues are now at greater ease to receive care. Geography and time constraints no longer play such a large factor in patient treatment. From a global standpoint, there are endless people being treated through telemedicine. Around the world, millions of patients use telemedicine to monitor their vital signals. Think of the benefits to patients in third-world countries with little to no access to healthcare. Telemedicine helps to solve this fundamental problem of the scarcity of doctors in certain parts of the world.

Recognizing the potential to treat hundreds of more patients, both in the U.S. and globally, many doctors are expressing interest in taking part in these cutting-edge healthcare technologies. In fact, 89% of healthcare executives predict that telemedicine will transform the U.S. healthcare system in the next decade. And the increasing trend of the number of doctors joining telemedicine networks mirrors this very prediction.

Financial gains:

Many doctors see telemedicine as a way to earn supplemental income. Without telemedicine, doctors might actually be losing some potential revenue. Telemedicine allows for doctors to earn extra income from the convenience of their own home. As it is, doctors don’t get paid for the time spent writing prescriptions and discussing medical treatment with patients demonstrating non-critical symptoms over the phone. That time spent is taking away from the time they could be spending with patients who are physically in their waiting room, in need of in-person, more serious treatment. So imagine if doctors could be paid for writing those prescriptions and speaking with those patients over the phone? Well, they can, thanks to telemedicine.

Time-effective for both doctors and patients:

A recent study shows that the average wait-time for a new patient to see a physician in metropolitan cities is 18.5 days. Telemedicine helps to solve some of that wait-time by offering exams that take just minutes. A 2015 Software Advice survey found that 97% of patients were upset at long wait times at the doctor. By offering a quicker and more convenient alternative, patients are much more likely to get frequent checkups and seek treatment from doctors. Optical telemedicine has specifically addressed the issue of inefficient vision exams, allowing patients to obtain an updated eyeglass or contact lens prescription in a much more timely manner. Smart Vision Exams take just 5 minutes, with no appointment necessary, while also eliminating the need for a doctor to be conducting the exam. By being able to review the exam results at their own convenience, doctor’s are able to prescribe eye prescriptions much quicker and in much greater volume. Smart Vision Lab’s CEO, Yaopeng Zhou, even predicts that just one telemedicine doctor could write a number of prescriptions ten times that of a doctor in a traditional healthcare system. With efficiency improvements to both patients and doctors, telemedicine significantly benefits both parties.

Reduces unnecessary in-person visits:

One of the primary issues that telemedicine tries to address is reducing the number of unnecessary in-person doctor visits. A recent study found that almost 75% of all doctor, urgent care, or ER visits are either unnecessary or could be handled effectively over a telecommunications platform. By eliminating some of these visits, doctors will be able to devote more time and efforts to providing treatment for patients that are in need of in-person care. Telemedicine essentially serves as large-scale director of traffic: sending patients to either an in-person or virtual visit, depending on their health status and the nature of their request.

As far as eye care goes, some states require patients to get an in-person eye exam in order to receive an updated contact lens prescription. But doctors from the American Academy of Ophthalmology and the American Association of Optometry suggest that healthy, asymptomatic adults don’t need an annual comprehensive eye exam. Some observers have expressed concern that prescribing eyewear remotely will lead to a reduction in the number of necessary comprehensive eye exams. However, neither evidence nor logic supports withholding improved vision from a patient to coerce a more detailed eye exam.

Many patients actually prefer it:

Many people are focused on finding more convenient, cheaper alternatives. Telemedicine exams appeal to patients precisely because of the ease and accessibility of them. Doctors are noticing that these exams are resulting in more involved, proactive patients, seeking more regular treatment. A recent study showed that 7 out of 10 patients prefer to get common prescriptions via video visits. And again, another study showed that 77% of people are interested in trying telemedicine appointments. Healthcare providers that offer such convenient and time-efficient options are likely to receive increased business from patients looking for these services.

Why you should become a telemedicine doctor - Smart Vision Labs Infographic

The future of telemedicine

The role and support of doctors in the continuance of telemedicine are vital to its success. As more patients are likely to seek providers that allow them to receive treatment at their own convenience, more doctors are likely to get on board with such technologies. Telemedicine is not just the future, it’s the present. But it continues to have substantial potential for even more growth. With care providers interested in reaping the numerous benefits from telemedicine, we are certain that the supply of telehealth doctors will quickly meet its ever-growing consumer demand, and will truly revitalize the healthcare delivery model for generations to come.

Learn more about implementing telemedicine with these related posts:

Who Should Be Involved in Implementing Telemedicine?
Is a Telemedicine Solution Right for Your Optical Store?
How to Get your Company on Board with Telemedicine Vision Exams
Questions About Ocular Telemedicine?
Telemedicine Myths and the Truths Behind Them


Tools to Help Grow an Optical Business - Smart Vision Labs

Best Tools to Grow an Optical Business

Tools to Grow an Optical Business

You’re open for business but are you looking for more customers to open the door of your optical store? And more importantly, when they do enter, are they going to be just browsing or actually buying?

The good news is that there are proven ways to grow your retail optical business.

Customer Service

Of course, this tops the list because it’s all about customers. Successful businesses, however, look beyond the metrics and focus on the meaning. A retail optical store is already differentiated from other types of stores that sell standard merchandise since they offer vision exams, which contributes to eye health. You are in a market that can impact the wellbeing of every customer. That in itself is powerful.

Now take the idea one step further and make every customer experience a four-star rating. Besides the must-dos of having a knowledgeable and friendly staff, consider rewarding each purchase. And this does not have to be a monetary reward.

How about sending a postcard or email to each customer following up on the sale? (When was the last time someone did that for you?) Or maybe give a gift (a coupon or something eye-related) to customers who refer family or friends? Everyone likes to be recognized; people want to feel they are more than a number.

Positive word-of-mouth is still the best marketing strategy.

TM, our Director of Customer Success for Smart Vision Labs
TM, our Director of Customer Success

Social Media 

The sister of word-of-mouth is social media. Sites like Facebook and Twitter are free to use but can give you big rewards. Posting regularly (at least twice a week, more may be better) and managing the content on these sites gives you a solid way to stay connected with current and future customers.

This medium also gives your business a personality. Start a conversation, promote a contest, or tell everyone about the latest new products. You could even ask your customers to pose with their new eyewear. Everyone loves a photo op!

Concentrate on building relationships. People will return to your optical store, (and bring friends and family) if they like you and your staff. This business is not about buying a product in a store where the only evidence of their purchase is a receipt. Purchasing eyewear is far more personal and affects their day-to-day life for a long time.

Community Involvement

The success of your optical store depends on how customers see you. (No, that is not a bad pun, just good marketing sense.) Besides the in-person customer service and the online presence with social media, what are people in your community saying about you?

Consider creating an outreach program for a target customer base. Ask to speak at senior centers or retirement homes about age-related eye issues like cataracts or glaucoma. Not only will you be helping a segment of your community but you will be creating brand awareness.

Reaching out to youth sports programs is another option. You could discuss eyewear that is safe and appropriate for certain activities. The ideas for influencing your community are all around you; ask your customers for more local ideas.

One of Smart Vision Labs' mission trips with VOSH as part of our community outreach efforts
One of our mission trips with VOSH

Did You Notice the Trend?

If this was a vision exam, I would now ask what you saw in this article.

I hope you saw the common theme of people. The very best way to grow an optical business is to connect with people, in-store, online, and in the community. Eye heath, vision testing, and eyewear are important to everyone.

When you turn off the lights and lock the door of your optical store at the end of the day, know that your business is making an improvement in the lives of your customers.

learn more about telemedicine and how it can increase your optical store's business - Smart Vision Labs

Learn more about how to grow an optical business with these related posts:

Is a Telemedicine Solution Right for Your Optical Store?
Can Telemedicine Replace Your Eye Doctor
Telemedicine Myths and the Truths Behind Them
What is Telemedicine? What Effect Will It Have on the Care of Your Eyes?

Download your free e-book, How Optical Stores Can Profit from the Telemedicine Revolution.”

 


How to Implement Ocular Telemedicine Vision Exams - Smart Vision Labs

How to Get your Company on Board with Telemedicine Vision Exams

How to Get your Company on Board with Telemedicine Vision Exams

Implementing ocular telemedicine in your company may start with an executive decision but the key factors also include employee participation and recognizing the real role of the technology. While the telemedicine platform offers immediate value to a company, there are a few behind-the-scenes acts that should come first. Savvy CEOs understand that the core of telemedicine is people, and creating better patient experiences start in the personnel department. Getting your employees to not only accept but to embrace the role of telemedicine for vision exams is significant to success.

Eyetailor success with Smart Vision Labs telemedicine vision exams

What Comes First?

Just like the age-old question of what comes first, the chicken or the egg, implementing telemedicine vision exams into your optical retail chain carries the same logistical thought processes. Are you incorporating telemedicine because the technology is available, or are you seeking to use the technology to better serve patients and to streamline the day-to-day business operations?

The answer to the question is yes and yes.

For instance, an optical store may be looking to fill their sales quotas but also want to offer vision exams so they can sell glasses on days when the staff doctor is not on premise. Telemedicine can address these concerns.

As a convenient and cost-effective option, telemedicine can increase sales simply by its presence. Customers will recognize your company’s compliance with their expressed needs and will not only speak with their purchasing dollars but will express their approval with repeat business.

Telemedicine gives patients the benefit of ‘seeing’ a doctor even when that doctor is not physically on-site. The result is a person having a vision exam, when they wanted it, and then purchasing glasses on the same day.

The existence of the technology allows it to be effectively used.

Conversely, the effective use of the technology means it has to be in existence in your company.

Okay, just like the chicken and the egg question, there is not ‘first things first’ with the implementation of telemedicine. It’s more of a circular application, not just a linear rolling out of an idea or program.

While C-level executives and vice-presidents have to be involved in the implementation and pilot process, for vision telemedicine to be successful in any company, all of the employees need to be onboard. Recognizing the learning curve for everyone involved is only half of the solution; this type of telemedicine works best in an atmosphere of complete acceptance. The employees, who will be using the technology with your clientele, should be comfortable and confident with the program. This will both reassure and encourage your customers as to the validity and value of ocular telemedicine to meet their needs.

But how does it all start?

INDUSTRY STATS

Vision testing stats - Smart Vision Labs

Employee Participation in Telemedicine

The basic instruction of employees to vision telemedicine will be an introduction about the specifics of the technology and its benefits to consumers. From this starting point, they can then understand that the implementation of this platform and its applications affect the business side, specifically that it will generate higher revenue, increase sales, and create higher satisfaction in the customer base.

The simple takeaway for employees is that ocular telemedicine is a health-centered alternative to traditional methods. It gives people more control over their eye care and how best to maintain eye heath. On a company level, it offers a healthy environment for the business to increase revenue and to be in a position as an industry leader.

Ocular telemedicine is best initiated among employees in two stages: introduction and implementation.

The first round of education is to show the employees that this technology is an improvement over business as usual. While previous methods of vision care have been effective, ocular telemedicine offers a way increasing productivity by helping them make better and faster decisions. This leads to new work practices that offer real economic and practical advantages. They will be able to track customer data more easily and meet sales quotas.

But vision telemedicine is more than just the business side. These new ways of operating within this technology-based platform creates the culture of the organization. This adoption-to-acceptance is a priceless commodity for any company. Once the employees are onboard mentally, the actual implementation of ocular telemedicine is simply a textbook-like application.

Plan and budget for the actual communication and training required. No shortcuts, please. To create real value, prioritize what’s vital to succeed. Put a realistic time limit on the execution of the technology. Take into account intangibles like employees who aren’t naturally tech-savvy, and those whose first response to anything new trends toward negativity. Both of these groups of people can be effectively countered through changing mindsets and behaviors. When employees see the value of telemedicine vision exams, they will understand their own place within this platform.

Customer success with telemedicine vision exams - Digital Optiks - Smart Vision Labs Partner

Technology is More Than a Tool

Telemedicine is more than technology to learn and use; it’s most effective when it is part of the strategy of the entire company. It’s not just an accessory but an integral part of day-to-day operations, as well as a vision for the future of retail optical enterprises. In many ways, the technology used to implement vision telemedicine is like internal marketing. A successful roll-out starts with the executive level positioning the changes in a positive light to employees. Once the staff embraces the technology, practical instruction begins.

Dare we say that is technology can be viewed as an employee? It’s not really a stretch of the imagination. Employees are in the company to enact policies and procedures, just like the role of the vision exam telemedicine platform. In a successful environment, the employee and telemedicine complement each other; the employee uses the technology and the technology guides the employees into more effective business practices.

optical retail stores sales lost when no doctor is on staff - Smart Vision Labs solves this problem

But before getting to the hands-on application, C-level executives have an important choice to make: choose the technology that works best for your team. Although functionality is critical, it needs to be user-friendly. If the goal is a high and quick adoption rate, it’s best not to choose a program that requires multi-day training or user manuals that can double as doorstops.

The technology that is chosen to implement ocular telemedicine in your company should reflect the overall culture of your business. Consider that selecting a program that corresponds and complements your goals is just like hiring an employee with the right set of skills.

The Infrastructure of Communication

Infrastructure usually refers to physical components, yet, the successful implementation of ocular telemedicine needs the very real venue of communication. The company should have constant communication with the telemedicine company to ensure smooth operations.

This communication should begin prior to the actual purchase of the telemedicine platform. C-level executives usually begin the process of implementing ocular telemedicine by generating a list of goals they expect to achieve. Once the software lines up with the expectations, the next step is getting the company’s team onboard.

During the training stage, communication with the telemedicine company will ensure a smoother transition. Questions, concerns, and practical ways to introduce the technology to employees will best be answered by the provider.

Perhaps the most critical use of communication with the ocular telemedicine company will be during the earliest times of implementation. This will be the litmus test of whether the selection of the platform and the training of employees positioned the company for success. Troubleshooting and technical support will be the definitive tools that ensure compliance and confidence.

And let’s not forget the benefit of communication on the home front. Encourage employee feedback on the technology, both on its ease of use and the practical results realized in the business. By letting your staff know that communication is a two-way street, they can provide valuable and honest critique on the transition to ocular telemedicine.

Prevent lost sales at your optical shop when you have the ability to issue an rx for glasses with a telemedicine solution from Smart Vision Labs

Keep it Real

Implementing ocular telemedicine is an effective strategy in this industry, both on the corporate and patient level. The applications of this technology provide benefits to both areas while reducing costs across the board. Getting your company on board with this platform is simply combining the program and the personnel within an environment that encourages communication.

Ocular telehealth programs have become a necessity in this industry as well as a viable opportunity. The need to serve more patients in a resource-strained field welcomes the implementation of telemedicine. As a company which brings this technology onboard, there is potential for increased revenue, as well as taking on the more lucrative role of leader. The telemedicine technology is not just consumer-driven; it has the capabilities of influencing the entire optical industry, from the legislation level to the local stores.

The companies which successfully implement ocular telemedicine create a network of primary eye care providers, specialists, and patients. However, this network does not remain static; it can serve as a catalyst for new ways of screening, diagnosing, or managing eye health. It can even be the voice of change.

Ocular telemedicine can make a real difference, to patients, providers, and anyone in the industry. The decisions made to implement it into your business can reap rewards beyond the financial ones. This technology is proving its effectiveness in companies every day. By delivering more efficient, cost-effective care, your ocular business will use innovation that is currently evolving health policies and eye health care delivery models. And it’s this type of vision that everyone will want to embrace.

Related Readings

Telemedicine of Today
Vision Industry Disruptors!
Telemedicine Myths and the Truths Behind Them
Why Doctors are Embracing Telemedicine

Download your free e-book, How Optical Stores Can Profit from the Telemedicine Revolution.”