Permission to Dream

Sep 30, 2022 | Kuster Design Blog

Your patient walks into your clinic ready for their annual exam.  While they are sure they are going to need new lenses, they have also been thinking that a new set of frames would be nice.  While you’re in the business of making sure your patients’ have healthy eyes and good vision, you’re also in the retail business of selling frames.  Does the portion of your clinic where the sales happen inspire your patients to want to wander, linger, and daydream about how good they are going to look in that new pair of frames?

According to Studholme’s article in “Retail Sensing”, (Revealed: why a longer ‘average shopping time’ pushes up retail sales – Retail Sensing) the longer people stay in a retail environment the:

  1. Number of people buying goes up.
  2. Number of items people buys goes up.
  3. Amount of money they spend goes up.

This makes intuitive sense if one thinks about it.  In an eye clinic, bringing the buyer in is easy. They need or want to get their eyes examined.  Getting them to spend money on a new pair of frames or two or three, becomes the more difficult part.  According to Studholme who makes contact with the shopper plays a big part in how much money they spend.  But, in your clinic your staff should readily be making the first contact with the patient as they are there for their exam and may very well have a prescription for new lenses as they leave the exam portion of their visit.

The second part is getting them to stay around longer after their exam and spend more time browsing the selection, trying on frames, and feeling relaxed enough to take their time to explore.  Studholme’s research suggests that signage and displays play a big role in this, and we agree!  However, how comfortable the space is also plays a big role.  What is the lighting like?  Are there comfortable places for patients to sit or the people that came with them to sit while they shop?  Is there a beverage station so they can have a drink while they shop?  If so, are the beverages served in non-disposable containers so the patient is less likely to walk out with their cup of coffee or bottle of water? These seemingly minor details can make a huge difference on whether a patient chooses to linger, purchase, and how much they spend.

We believe that having displays that make viewing the most profitable items right at eye level helps drive sales of those items.  Also, the more flattering the lighting and an abundance of mirrors encourages trying frames on.  The patient should not have to search for a mirror.  They should be everywhere, but not intrusive. They can also be conveniently located in the midst of or near higher margin products that may catch the patient’s eye while trying on something else.  Lastly, a combination of sizes of mirrors helps give the patient a variety of perspectives on how they look in their new set of frames!

As they select frames to choose from is there a convenient place for them to collect the most promising ones so they can return to them later?  Perhaps, having a felt lined tray on the desk of your sales technician would be handy.  Alongside a desktop mirror, the sales technician can then help the patient further narrow down their choices from the frames that had been set aside on the tray list and do a comparative assessment.  The chair as the desk needs to be comfortable and inviting so the patient isn’t eager to hop back up!

So, in summary if you want your patients to spend more money with you on great frames make sure you have a front of house design that offers a truly welcoming experience that encourages your patients to spend more time with you and your staff after their exam.  The research supports that focusing on creating a space that encourages patients to linger helps to increase sales.