7 Fundamentals of Effective Merchandising
The holiday shopping season is already in full swing and now is the time to take a look at your practice’s optical department and make sure it’s designed to attract customers and maximize sales. PECAA’s own retail and merchandising expert, Doug Martin, discusses how you can easily create a beautiful and functional retail environment that will keep your patients coming back. Plus, learn the seven fundamentals of effective merchandising – a list of simple techniques that you can implement in your own practice right away.
You never get a second chance to make a first impression.
First impressions are everything and you only have one shot at making a positive impact. To ensure you are capturing your customer’s attention, for the right reasons, from the very beginning, there are several things you can do:
Exterior & Interior: Show me what you do – When someone drives by your office, it should be clear what type of business you are and what you sell. You can easily attract people to your practice with branded window images and clings. Many of the vendors you work with offer these types of marketing materials at no additional cost. Take advantage your window space facing the road or high traffic areas to clearly communicate what you have to offer inside. Keep their impression positive once they enter by having a clean and inviting front desk and waiting area.
Differentiate: Tell me what you do – The overall practice environment and optical displays are extensions of your brand, so they must clearly communicate the message about your practice. Is it luxurious? Value-oriented? Full service? Unique? Make sure your customers know the answer when they walk through the door. Again, you can use branded marketing materials in your optical department or in your waiting area to tell the story. Your optical displays are key in communicating your brand and it’s important to put a lot of thought and planning into your merchandising, guided by the question, “What does this say to my customers?” A good display tells a story, stops the customer’s eye and gets them to interact with the frames. Use tools like fixtures, lights, props, signage, point-of-purchase materials to guide them in.
People make decisions intellectually, but buy emotionally.
It’s important to tell a story of why a particular frame makes sense for the individual customer. If you talk to your customer about why they need something not just what they need, they will be more likely to make a purchase based on an emotional response instead of a practical one. You can also use your practice’s brand to encourage customers to make an emotional decision to buy. If they connect with your brand on an emotional level, it gives them a reason to choose you over a competitor.
Customers vote everyday with their charge cards.
Are your customers picking up what your putting down? If they connect with your brand, have a positive shopping experience and are presented with frames that meet their needs, they will make a purchase and likely return for more.
What gets measured gets improved.
The optical department typically generates 45% of the overall practice revenue – but it can, and should, be a higher percentage. One way you can increase your optical sales is to consider the frames and products you purchase and choose to sell. You should always make purchases according to your practice’s strategy, branding and your customer’s needs. It’s also important to create a “selling culture”, measure your sales and set goals. Try setting a sales goal for one month and then track the sales for each optician. Identify under-penetrated areas like anti-reflective coatings or multiple pair sales and try to boost those particular areas. You’ll be more in control and responsive to your customers, plus you’ll increase revenue!
The Seven Fundamentals of Effective Merchandising
There is no “right or wrong” way to merchandise, but there is “good and bad” ways to design your space. When designing an optical display, there are seven rules to follow. Incorporate these techniques in your displays and see the difference not only in the aesthetics of your space but in the way your customers interact with the products.
1. The Pyramid Principle
Create height in the center of your display to create a focal point for the eye and leave space around the perimeter. Try this by stacking frames in a pyramid shape.
2. Odd Not Even
The brain is programed to be attracted to items grouped in odd numbers – it’s more aesthetically pleasing to the eye. Always use an odd number of frames in a single display.
3. Repetition, Repetition
Repeat concepts to create strong merchandising statements.
Use interesting texture as the backdrop or foundation for your frame displays.
5. Less is More
Keep displays simple and uncluttered so the eye can focus on what you’re selling. This is especially true when it comes to luxury and high-end brands. Don’t overcrowd your display with decor, let the product speak for itself.
6. Lifestyle Merchandising
Leverage the power of the brand. Create a display that tells a story and shows how the frame fits into a particular lifestyle by grouping it with other accessories like a handbag or scarf.
7. Don’t Break the Architectural Lines
Present frames in a way that is consistent with the space in which they are positioned. Don’t create artificial walls or barriers which prevent the customer from moving around or interacting with the frames you’re selling.
These seven simple techniques can be easily implemented in your own practice right away. Just a few small changes can make a big difference. Take a look at your optical department today and try to identify ways that you can incorporate these basic fundamentals. You might be surprised to see the impact they can make to your optical sales!
Want to take your optical to the next level?
PECAA recently wrapped up our fall Optical Merchandising Workshop series, with events held in four cities throughout the U.S. These popular one-day workshops feature hands-on courses designed to give attendees a better perspective on merchandising, help creating compelling displays and managing inventory in order to maximize profitability. Plus, all attendees receive free CE credit!
“The information provided at the workshop was outstanding! We have already implemented strategies to allow our patients to better experience what we have to offer. Thank You PECAA!” Patti Bushnell, Practice Manager, Eldorado Vision & Optical, McKinney, TX
Do you want to receive information on PECAA’s future Optical Merchandising Workshops? Add your name to our mailing list and we will keep you posted on our 2017 spring workshop schedule.