Turn Digital Consumers Into Optical Buyers

By Grant Larsen


You have a high-traffic location, brilliant merchandising, the latest in branded fashion frames and years of selling experience. Yet growing numbers of digital consumers are walking out of your dispensary without a backward glance. In many cases, the lack of pre-purchase marketing by ECPs is creating customers who simply have no intention of buying from their existing eyecare provider.

Top marketing companies and large agencies start multi-million-dollar marketing campaigns by meticulously mapping out how targeted consumers buy each product. Armed with this research, they can adjust marketing tools and digital campaigns to match specific consumer groups. Online retailers and large chains know in great detail when and how to engage digital consumers and exactly what offers will entice them to buy. As an independent optical retailer or even a small multi-office practice, you don’t have the marketing dollars to hire an agency or research the consumer decision-making process. However, you can take research information, apply it to your business and turn digital shoppers into digital buyers.

The following tips will help you turn “just looking” consumers into buyers.

It’s Time for a Brand Audit

Clear off the largest table in your office and lay out your recent advertisements, business brochures, promotions, prints of your web landing pages, email templates, invoices, signage and any other materials you use for business. Over the years you may have changed some or all of these materials without realizing how confusing this can be to information-hungry potential consumers. Consumers buy from people they know, like and trust. It’s okay to have some branded supplier material, but make sure your brand is consistent across all media and materials, including digital.

Does Your Website Persuade and Inform?

Consumers want to be able to find your store, products and services 24/7. Chances are you created your website more than two years ago, and don’t have video or pictures that tell a story, or interesting and engaging offers that drive consumers to want to buy from you. Monthly offers, a welcome video, top-selling fashion lists and simple explanations of technology or services are the new standards in optical retail. If you want to attract information-seeking buyers, you must deliver this content before they arrive in your store.

Connect and Share

Store, website, social media and community today’s “omni-shopper” expects to access you, your product information and promotions via multiple devices whenever it’s convenient for them. With a little communication and some help from technology, this should not be an impossible task. Social media management systems allow you to promote to several channels simultaneously with speed and ease. Suppliers have electronic promotions that are easy to post on your promotional web page. Direct shipping or selling to digital consumers are available as a free app or widget for your website. But don’t think that these tools replace your personal touch. By integrating your business with multiple channels, tools and communication sources, your connections with consumers and your community will dramatically improve your sales.

These tools and tips don’t require a significant amount of time and money. Many services are available from optical-based marketing companies for a monthly fee or a one-time payment. Regardless of the route you take, all of them will require you to be actively involved in determining your brand offering and who you want to sell to. By preparing for the changes in optical buying behaviour, you can start turning consumers who are “just looking” into buyers today.