Online Eyewear and Your Practice: It Is All About Positioning!

There is no reason to be defensive, passive or otherwise when it comes to your practice servicing online eyewear. Online eyewear is here and growing. Your eyecare practice needs to determine how you will take advantage of this opportunity in the market. And yes, it is an opportunity you can benefit from, here are three ways how:

First off you need to buy a few pairs of eyewear online from a few different sites. Do this with your opticians so you can understand your competition, what you are up against and how you can offer the most value that compliments that experience. You need this base line in order to move forward with the suggestions below.

Brand Positioning

“We Service Online Eyewear! Ask about our 32 point pre-order checklist and fitting.” You are an expert in online eyewear purchasing. There are pros and cons which you can explain to your patients and share with them the elements of an exam that are missing in the online experience. Your fee for this service can be whatever you think is fair, though think in terms of a contact lens fitting fee as a good place to start. The contact lens fitting fee is also a good analogy for the patient. And tell the patient, “Without this fitting and consultation you would just be throwing $20 away on your online purchase.”

Patient Education

Show patients who ask you for their Rx and PD what else they need in order to be satisfied with their online eye wear purchase. Similar to the 64 point check up at Jiffy Lube, you need to make the patient aware of the value you provide as well as the pitfalls of an online purchase. Have a checklist that shows what they get online versus what they get from you (see sample here).

Problem Solver

Remember the OfficeMax ads where the six dollar haircut place moves in across the street from the established barber? The barber puts out the sign, “We fix $6 haircuts!” That could be you. You fix online eyewear, for a fee. And don’t apologize! You provide a medical device. Do people go online to buy discount heart stents? If they did, they would certainly pay a heart specialist to have them fixed.

You will have patients who are taken aback that you want to charge them for your time and quality service. Think about if you really want those people as patients in the first place. They obviously don’t respect you time and skills and they will get what they pay for online. Don’t worry. You will win much more than you lose. It is an opportunity to showcase your quality service. The patient who is out save money will still do so, and will do it with confidence that you have his back.

Submitted by guest blogger: Michael Hanbridge is an independent marketing consultant primarily working within the visioncare – optical industry. He can be reached at and @mikehanbridge on Twitter.


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  1. I would love to read your checklist (paragraph 4), but it is not included. Where can I find it?