Buying Groups 101 By Vision West

We just got our first sponsor- Vision West (VWI)! Vision West is an optical buying group located in Oceanside, California. I want to extend a special Thanks to them for supporting the ECP, education and us!.

So I got to thinking- many ECP’s probably don’t know what a buying group it. So thought I would answer some FAQ’s.

What is a buying Group?

Since volume is the key to better efficiency, product selection and pricing, buying group negotiate best pricing and pass it on to their members.  Buying Groups are the connection between members and the best manufacturers and suppliers in the industry. This relationship helps to reduce the marketing costs for the vendors and generates volume buying savings for members.

How much does it Cost to Join a Buying Group?

In the optical profession, most buying groups do not charge a fee to join. There is a small administrative fee that is usually based upon a percentage of sales.

What are the Advantages of Using Buying Groups:

  • Access to Large amount of Suppliers
  • Discount available
  • One bill (statement) every month for simplified book keeping
  • Often special promotions and incentives are available
  • Usually (depends on the company) no minimum orders

What About Reps?

Representitives will continue to service you as they have always done. All they have to do is write in the Bill to Column the Buying Group Name.

How do they handle Returns

Returns are handled through the rep or the vendor. The Vendor credits the returns to the buying, who basically credits them back to the Member.

What about Dated Billing Programs?

Most buying groups accept a 30-60 dated billing program. Some, such as Vision West accept up to 12 months. You should always double check with your Buying Group to see what they accept.

How many buying Groups can you be a member of?

Many offices are members of more than one buying group or even a networking group. Some BG’s work with more vendors than others. Even if your office is a member of ‘Networking’ group such as Vision Source, you can still be a member of a Buying Group.

What’s the Catch? Nothing is for free!

There is not a catch- you can take advantage of volume discount programs without making the volume purchases, and you have have to pay your bills by the date set by the buying group.

If you have any other questions, please give Vision West a call and they will be able to answer any of your questions in more depth.

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