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LAB ADVISOR Archives | Subscribe to LAB ADVISOR | LabTalk

A Monthly Briefing for Optical Lab Owners and Managers

- October 2015 -

Dollars & Sense

Make What You Say Pay

Lab Notes

New Products

Spotlight

Dollars & Sense

Price Transparency, What it Means for You

Michael Karlsrud

The last week of September brought to a head what many people feared, more government exposure to the optical industry.  Perhaps you missed the comments made by Sen. Chuck Schumer (D) from New York, as he stood outside a LensCrafters store.  Cutting through all the rhetoric, essentially he is asking the simple question “Why do glasses cost so much?”

We need to take note of this moment in time because over the next year or so business will not be “as usual.”

The chain of events already in motion, impacting every aspect of the industry, is consumer choice.  Driven by convenience, powered by choice and fueled by lower prices, the consumer is searching for the answer to the very question Sen. Schumer asked, “Why do glasses cost so much?” It would be easy to remain at arm’s length from this question, but rest assured it will come knocking at your door. 

Every job that leaves an ECP office for an online purchase or goes to a low cost provider leaves your laboratory as well. So what can we do about it?

First, open the dialog with your key accounts and talk about creating partnerships.  Don’t assume you have one.  Make sure you have one.  Increasingly, labs and ECP’s will need to work together to make sure there is justifiable value to the consumer.  In the near future, portions of our business, products and services will not hold up to the traditional 2X, 3X and 4X mark-up models we have been accustomed to.  Partner to become and remain competitive, and think creatively how you both will benefit by keeping wayward shoppers in their offices.

Profit is not a four-letter word.  However, there is no profit if there are no sales.  We need to get out of our labs and into our customers’ offices and band together against the price pressures coming our way.  If the Federal Trade Commission changes the current laws and rules governing prescription information, optical will suffer from the perception of high mark-ups on an increasingly commoditized product.  In the end, the consumer has the final choice.  Let’s make sure they are choosing our ECP partners. 

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Make What You Say, Pay!

Don't Drown in Your Own Presentation!

Anne Miller

The good news is you have a portfolio of sexy services or products to offer. The bad news is you have a portfolio of sexy services or products to offer. How do you present them so you don’t drown yourself and your listener in too much information?

Use a Single Visual

Supposed you have seven products/services to offer.  If you present each one on a separate slide with bullet-point facts and features, by the time you hit the fourth one, you will have lost your audience.  Everything you say from there on out just becomes blah, blah, blah, because the brain can’t absorb or remember an endless river of facts

To save yourself and your audience from certain sales death:

• Use a single overview visual (PowerPoint or printed) that allows a listener to “see” all your offerings on one page, which can then lead to a more meaningful discussion for both of you.

• Choose from a variety of graphics from simple tables to a series of circles or quadrants. (You don’t need to be a great artist. Smart shapes will do.

• Make the visual easy on the eyes

            -Group the products by color to reflect categories of items.

            -Include small icons for each offering, if possible

            -Keep any text Information very, very brief.

Once you both decide which items are likely to be appropriate, then you can drill down on those in greater—and more meaningful—detail. Even a simple table is better than seven successive pages/slides of individual product/service text.

Words Matter: Make What You Say Pay! ©2012 Anne Miller, author, “metaphorically Selling” www.annemiller.com

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Lab Notes

2015 Website of the Year

Staff

The 16th Annual Website of the Year award was bestowed on FEA Industries during the Labapalooza party held at Vision Expo West. The Top Ten Websites were also announced and certificates presented by Christie Walker, LabTalk editor and contest creator.  Walker announced at the event that this would be the last year for the Website contest and that in 2016 a new award was being created that included social media, Web, and other aspects of modern marketing.

2015 Wholesale Lab Report Now Available

Staff

From this study you will gain an in-depth understanding of how independent ECPs use wholesale labs for processing lenses and providing other eye wear products/services. We analyze the major factors eye care professionals consider when selecting a lab. We also look at the products ECPs purchase from wholesale labs and their purchasing. In this study, you will also uncover the concerns ECPs have when dealing with wholesale optical laboratories. The report was compiled using three years of data ending June 2015. For more information or to order, contact elehrhaupt@jobson.com.

Labapalooza

Staff

Optical labs and their partners filled the Rockhouse for the annual lab party, Labapalooza held in Las Vegas during Vision Expo West. With the Lab Division meeting taking place during VEW as well, Labapalooza has become the signature party to close out the day of meetings and education.

Rochester Optical Participates in “The Future of Eyewear Summit”

Christie Walker

A small team of smart glass developers meet with National Vision and Rochester Optical to discuss the future of eyewear and how they can work together to bring this new technology to the masses.  Smart glass representatives from Recon, Vuzex and Moverio Epson, joined First Sight doctors Dr. Priti Pastel, OD, First Sight president and CEO, Robert K Patton,  Rochester Optical owner Patrick Ho, and National Vision president, Bruce Steffey, to discuss a complete smart glass solution that involves a smart glass device, software solutions,  prescription lenses and distribution.

“There are barriers to the adoption of this technology—vision correction and safety eyewear, being two of these barriers,” explained Ho. “There are going to be vision problems due to the position of the hardware. We play a part in removing those barriers.”

Ho stated that consumer adoption of smart glasses is coming. Thirty-four million smart watches will ship worldwide in 2015, up 250 percent from 2014. The next step after smart watches will be smart eyewear, providing hands-free access to data and communication tools.

Toledo Optical-Walman Host Education for Customers

Christie Walker

A day of education, panel discussions and networking were offered to Toledo Optical-Walman customers at Maumee, Ohio, in early September providing the opportunity for ABO credits to ECPs. The course lineup included: The State of the Optical Industry- 2015 Opportunities and Trends, presented by Christie Walker, editor of LabTalk Magazine; The Declaration of Independence—Winning Back Your Practice in a Third Party World presented by Tom Bowen, The Williams Group; Improving Communication—Unleashing the Power of DiSC presented by Pam Rodefer, Rodefer Consulting; ADO Member Program presented by Jobe Sellers, ADO Practice Management; and concluded with a panel discussion revolving around success stories and opportunities moderated by Tom Bowen and Jeff Szymanski, Walman Optical.

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New Products

Find a New Attitude in Edging

The Briot Attitude is a new edging system that unveils advanced new technology with features geared towards increasing ease-of-use and broadening the scope of capabilities. Key new features include state-of-the-art tracing technology, faster centering and blocking, a new motor capable of maximum speed with minimal noise, simplified drilling administration and shape modification, a color coded data input system to minimize errors, and the addition of patented Shack-Hartmann wavefront power mapping technology. For more information about this system contact Briot at (800) 292-7468 or www.briot.com/usa.

Transforming Fining Pad

PSI’s new Transformer all-materials fining pad transforms as it fines from its original coarse state to a smoother, transparent condition.  The innovative composition of this one-step pad allows it to breakdown during processing by fining the lens at different intensities, starting rough for heavy stock removal and smoothing down for an ultra-smooth lens finish like you would achieve with a second fine process.  The Transformer pad achieves consistent stock-removal on all lens materials and has a cloth backing helping the pad to conform to the tool and making removal easy.  For more information contact PSI at 800-237-8154 or visit our website where you can order the pads on-line at www.LookToPSI.com

Velocity Coater for Wholesale Labs

Coburn Technologies’s new Velocity Coater is a fully-automated industrial hard coating system providing the highest throughput of any system on the market while also delivering excellent yields. The automation system includes a multi-stage pre-cleaning system as well as lens handling from the job tray, through a multi-stage lens pre-cleaning system, followed by a secondary cleaning system, coating, and cure, finally returning the lens to the job tray.   All of this is accomplished without operator involvement.  For more information contact Coburn at 1-800-COBURN-1.

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Spotlight

EMAIL MARKETING...BOOST YOUR SALES BY BUILDING YOUR BRAND

Phillip M. Perry

With all the ballyhoo lately about the sales power of social media, it might be tempting to view email marketing as an old technology that should be put on the back burner and forgotten. But that would be a mistake. Designed correctly, an email campaign is a terrific sales booster that can magnify the effects of social media.

Successful email marketing, though, means more than just sending a few messages and hoping customers respond. “Effective email marketing is part of a larger communication strategy that has the goal of building long term relationships,” says Arnold. Doing it right takes careful planning. “You need to figure out what you want people to remember about your brand at every stage of the customer lifecycle.”

How, in other words, do you want the public to view your lab? As the most reliable source for quality lenses? As the low-price leader? Or as some variation of the above, along with a reputation for exceptional service and on-time delivery? Firm up that strategy--then drive it home with emails that stand head and shoulders above the crowd.

Learn five tips for perfecting your email marketing by reading the entire article at http://www.labtalkonline.com/

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Christie Walker, Editor, LabTalk/LabAdvisor

Christie is the Editor of LabTalk and a contributor to Vision Monday. She covers wholesale laboratories, lab systems, other ECP news and features/coverage. Contact Christie at cwalker@jobson.com.

Copyright © 2014 LabTalk. All rights reserved. Read more at LabTalkOnline.com/LabAdvisor

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