Article originally appeared in Review of Optometric Business
Why total contact lens revenues don’t meet expectations
Recent data analysis suggests that ECPs are effectively capturing nearly 80 percent of contact lens units sold within two weeks of an exam. That would be impressive if those units represented the largest share of contacts sold in the U.S. But they don’t.
The majority of contacts sold, approximately 60 percent of all unit sales, are reorders. How well do ECPs succeed at capturing these reorders? After providing a friendly and personal patient experience to build trust, after providing a critical eye health exam, after educating and fitting the new CL patient, ECPs hardly get their fair share of these sales. Perhaps as little as 10 percent.
Without doing a single eye exam, online retailers have sold contact lenses to over 15 million patients. How did these online and big-box chains together capture 90 percent of reorders, the largest segment of the CL market?
How online stores are winning reorders
Do these competitors have faster turnaround times? Not always.
Does the competition offer cheaper prices? Not necessarily. Are they more convenient to the customer? In many instances, YES.
In a world where consumers can order groceries, movies or a taxi, all from the convenience of their smartphones, people have come to expect a shopping experience tailored to their lifestyle and schedule – contact lens patients are no different. Online contact lens retailers have tapped into this “digital” shopper with sophisticated messaging, marketing, and a “virtual” experience. Unfortunately, because most ECPs are not offering convenient and contemporary digital channels for patients to reorder lenses, patients choose to go elsewhere.
Already dominating the reorder business, one of your online contact lens competitors is opening physical stores to capture even more CL revenue. In other words, they are about to initiate a “bricks and clicks” market strategy to offer another channel for patients to purchase products and services.
ECP patient data and relationships still yield a competitive advantage
Few individual ECPs can hope to match the financial resources, or the IT and digital marketing expertise of this competition. But every ECP still holds the key to capturing reorder revenue and growing their contact lens sales.
Eye exams and patient relationships are the key interactions that the ECP can better leverage. At the time of a patient visit, the ECP captures all the relevant information needed to be an even more valuable and convenient resource to the patient, and to communicate personal, relevant messages to patients before they ever need to shop online. Successful ECPs use CLX, a simple software to mine this data from their contact lens records and to identify patients due to run out of their initial supply. CLX sends automated e-mails and text messages, branded to match the ECP practice.
Not ordinary reminder messages, these proactive communications include a personalized, actionable reorder link, unique to every patient. Patients can use their smartphone, PC or tablet to reorder contacts directly from their trusted ECP.
As healthcare providers, ECPs have a special relationship with their patients. In fact, eyecare patients are three times more likely to open marketing communications from individual ECPs than the healthcare industry average.
A trusted relationship, when combined with proactive relevant messaging, and an easy, secure way for patients to reorder contacts from any device, gives ECPs the advantage in capturing a larger share of the reorder market.
The CLX System provides ECPs with innovative technology designed to level the playing field in the contact lens market by offering the ability to implement a multi-channel strategic approach to capturing patient contact lens revenue from the day of the initial contact lens fitting to when that patient is down to his last box. Learn more at www.CLXsystem.com