Some practices shy away from pushing photochromatic lens sales due to some old but pervasive myths in the industry, like that they might cannibalize sunglass sales or that young people just aren’t interested. Wing Eyecare, a 16-location practice in Cincinnati, realized they were leaving money on the table by not focusing on expanding their market share of this growing product category.
“As an Opti-Port member, we were approached in early 2017 about piloting a Transitions Growth Program developed by Essilor’s Transitions team for the Opti-Port membership,” said Wing Eyecare COO John Abbate. “We worked with Opti-Port and the Transitions team to implement a three-pronged approach to growing our Transitions sales.”
This multi-faceted approach included demand generation, an ongoing commitment to training and education, and an enhanced point of purchase experience.
Since the implementation of the Transitions Growth Program in early 2017, Wing Eyecare grew Transitions sales from 13% of lens sales to 18-20%. This trend has held strong over the past several months.
How did they accomplish this significant and lasting growth throughout the year?
“As an organization, we’ve learned that to make a significant impact on our business we have to develop a continuous commitment to changing our team’s habits and performance,” said Abbate. “This includes allocating enough attention to the program, offering ongoing training and repetitive reinforcement, and continuously measuring results and reporting back those results to the team.”
To generate demand for Transitions lenses, Wing Eyecare knew it had to drive more patients through the doors. The practice reached out to 14,000 of their patients through the Opti-Port Direct Marketing Program in a demographically targeted campaign.
Through the Transitions Growth Program, Wing Eyecare also was able to offer patients a Patient Satisfaction Guarantee, allowing them to try Transitions lenses for six months, risk free.
Education and Training
“We knew that driving demand for Transitions wouldn’t be effective if we didn’t have a well-trained staff that could knowledgeably speak to the benefits of Transitions,” said Abbate.
The Transitions team conducted four hours of off-site RISK Training for all 160 Wing Eyecare opticians and 24 ODs that focused on dispensing behavior change.
“Our team came away from the RISK training with two key takeaways for our Transitions strategy,” said Abbate. “First, recommend Transitions to each and every patient regardless of age or other demographics. Second, educate patients on the eye-health benefits of Transitions Lenses including their ability to block 100% of harmful UV rays and reduce blue light exposure.”
In-Store Customer Experience
With the help of the Transitions marketing team, Wing Eyecare revamped their in-store experience to incorporate Transitions materials and sales aids. Transitions consumer brochures, dispensing mats, window clings, posters, and a video loop helped promote the brand to patients that walked into all 16 locations.
Ongoing Focus Drives Results
Wing Eyecare’s focus on each of these three categories culminated in impressive results. The Transitions’ percentage of the practice’s lens sales went up 5.3%, which represented about 160 new pairs of Transitions in the first eight weeks of the program. Non-glare sales were up 8.4% over 2016, showing that Transitions patients were more likely to purchase them. Average sale price skyrocketed the month following the Transitions Growth Program was implemented, reaching higher than it had been in six months.
And as for those Transitions myths holding practices back? Wing’s campaign obliterated them. Year-over-year sunglass sales went up 24.9% over the same month the previous year, so fears that Transitions might eat into Wing’s sunglass sales were unfounded. When it came to selling young people on Transitions, Wing discovered that when educated on how Transitions lenses provide the best protection against harmful blue light, twenty-somethings were much more likely to choose them.