I’M NOT IN THE LENS BUSINESS,
I’M IN THE EMPIRE BUSINESS
You’re not the only game in town.
People can get what you’re selling from any one of a number of dealers. They could head over to the guy on the corner just up the street. Heck, they could just order it online – direct from Mexico, or maybe somewhere in Asia, and have it in a few days for a fraction of the price of your stuff.
Online sales. Insurance. Chain stores. With all of these guys muscling in on your turf, what can you do about it? They make it easy for people to get their fix, even though it might not be the best quality stuff out there. That weakness is what you want to exploit – you want to give them the best product that you can. Your frames might not have a signature blue color, but you want it to be something that is so good people don’t want to go anywhere else. This means that you have to excel not only in service, but technology as well.
Technology is where it’s at today. Being able to offer your customers something that’s new and easy is a great way to generate interest, and get them talking to their friends. Something that they can’t really get online is even better, since more and more online sales are becoming the bane of optical stores. In order to see what technology we want, of course, might require a little “Chemistrie” of our own. Let’s cook.
As we all know, science is cool. Using it to do cool things to impress customers – that’s even cooler. Now we can use it to make selling second pairs really, really easy. This is where we’re going to use our Chemistrie. If you haven’t guess by this point, Chemistrie isn’t just a cute misspelling, but rather is a magnet-based lens system designed to work with any frame. That means you don’t have to carry a special frame inventory, or have styles that nobody wants. You just use your normal frame inventory, and add on to it.
Chemistrie works by embedding two small magnets in each lens, making for a firm anchor point. The lenses are drilled so that the magnets sit flush with the surface, so there’s no bulge or bumps. These magnets are about 3mm across, so they are noticeable, but sleek enough that they don’t detract from the aesthetics of the frames. They are also placed at the edges of the lens, so they won’t interfere with the wearer’s field of vision. After the magnets are fixed in place, the lenses can be assembled into the frame as normal. At this point, they are ready to go and can be used with any one of a number of click-on options.
That are a variety of click-ons (they’re magnets, they click, hence, ‘click-on’) that we’ll look at shortly, but right now you should know that these aren’t standard one-size-fits-all type clip ons. They are edged to be the exact dimensions of the ordered frame. This is what makes it possible to use any frame, as the add-ons are edged to the correct proportions. You don’t need to worry about them being sized differently, or not fitting. Since these are also custom-made for each frame, you can be sure that they’re correct.
The Uncertainty Principle
Having one pair of lenses that does everything well is never going to be possible. There are always compromises, since we never know what situations life is going to put us in. This is why the idea of second pairs is so enticing – it makes it easier to offer specialized eyewear to give your patients the best vision in different visual situations. These include things like computer lenses and polarized sunwear.
Having to carry around a second pair, however, can be a big negative point for a lot of people. They can take up a lot of room, and it can be too easy to break them, or forget them. This is where Chemistrie shines. Since they attach to the front of existing frames, they take up much less space when carrying them around. That means you can have one case with several clips, making it a lot more portable than a standard ‘second pair’. Oh, they can also stack on top of each other. What does that mean? Well, here’s an example:
Walt – a professional cook – has a mild astigmatism and usually just wears clear plastic single vision lenses. Walt’s just received a very large order for some of his signature dishes, so has quite a lot of cooking to do. Of course, as Walt is getting up there in age, he needs a little help reading his cookbook, so he just snaps on his pair of Chemistrie+ reading lenses on top of the pair he’s already wearing – instant reading glasses. He’s almost ready to cook, but needs to text his friend Jessie to come give him a hand (it’s a big order). Being very health-conscious Walt want to protect his eyes from the blue light his phone emits, but he also needs his reading power to be able to see the screen. Not a problem. Since he already has his Chemistrie+ on top of his normal prescription, he just has to toss his Chemistrie Blue on top of those. Now he can both read his phone AND protect his eyes from blue light! Now he’ll have no problems when he cooks.
The Blue Stuff is Premium
As I mentioned, Chemistrie Blue is something that you can offer to help your patients protect their eyes from blue light. As this becomes more and more popular in the industry, it becomes more necessary for us to offer this as a product. However, often times people don’t want to wear these lenses around all the time. Some people don’t like their color, so choose not to wear them for that reason. Other people assume they’ll end up losing them, or forgetting to put them on. These are all reason why an additional click-on magnetic solution is a great choice. You don’t have to worry about another pair, and the click-on is stored in the same place as all of your other click-ons. This helps bridge the gap between medical device and fashion, so we can more precisely control when we are helping our eyes (in this case, by blocking blue light), and looking good (by taking the click-on off when we’re done).
Dos Lentes Hermosas
Being fashionable is also high priority among frames – and anything that makes it easier to style them on-the-fly adds immensely to their value as accessories. This is especially true in sunwear, as it’s highly fashion-centric. Usually if customers buy sunwear, it’s going to be one pair. They aren’t going to see it as necessary to get more than one pair of polarized sun lenses. If they aren’t a separate pair, but rather an add-on to what they already wear, then they might see it as making more sense. Since they aren’t really carrying two extra pair around with them, it becomes very easy for them to swap into the colors to match whatever they are currently wearing. The sheer selection of colors to choose from is impressive – two dozen colors including polarized, mirrors, and gradients. It’s almost too easy to find something for everyone.
In addition to sunwear, bling is another great fashion accessory. Instead of simply blinging out your frame, you can now add it directly to the lenses. Swarovski crystals can now adorn the tops of the magnets, making them great additions to any fashion statement. How would this work in the real world? Probably something like this:
Skylar works at a carwash, so she finds herself running inside and outside a lot of the time. She thinks photochromic lenses take too long to change, and she doesn’t want to have to keep swapping a whole pair of glasses, so she finds the magnetic polarized click-ons work great for her. She’s also very fashion-conscious, so refuses to wear polarized lenses that clash with her outfits. Being able to swap colors easily on a day-to-day basis makes it easy for her to pick the best color for her. After work, Skylar goes out with her boyfriend Ted. Since she wants to look her best and bling things up a bit, she replaces her polarized lenses with swarovski crystals to help accentuate her fashion statement.
I Did It For Me
Ultimately, you need to decide what’s worthwhile to sell. Chemistrie offers some interesting ways to try and overcome a lot of bad habits we have when it comes to second pair sales. They quickly address the inevitable: I don’t want to carry two pairs of glasses. Good news: you aren’t. But you still get the benefits as if you were. You can now also mix and match both function and fashion. So now you have all manner of recipes that you can put together to help your customers achieve the best vision possible in the easiest way possible. Now get out there and cook!
Bill Heffner, IV