It’s Summertime
Let’s Talk Sunglasses

Sunglasses can seem like a fairytale. It would be great to sell more of them but it seems to be a constant struggle to sell. Most people just don’t intend to buy at the practice, especially those who don’t require corrective lenses. If that pretty much sums up how you feel, you aren’t alone. Eye care professionals currently hold 1.2 percent of the plano sunglasses market share, while 12.7 percent of plano sunglasses were sold at U.S. sunglass specialty stores.


At EyeCarePro, we would like to help you change that. Sure, you should be up on what brands and styles are trending this season, and you should do your best to attract walk-ins if you’re located in an area with a lot of foot traffic. Additionally, as we’ve discussed elsewhere, you want to highlight the medical recommendation to patients in your lane to maximize capture. But have you considered using sunglasses as a loss leader?

What’s a Loss Leader? Can This Work For Optical?

A loss leader is a product sold at low or zero margins in order to attract customers. For example, supermarkets do this all the time with certain products. When you see a promotion for grapes at $.5 per pound, it’s probably a loss leader; they’re hoping you’ll buy other groceries once you’re there for the grapes.

When it comes to your optical, a loss leader would be used to obtain long-term value, rather than short term gains. Usually, when you run an optical promotion, it’s to maximize revenue by volume—making less per sale but selling a lot at once—or it’s to clear out inventory. But that’s not what we’re talking about here.

Consider a hot promotion on sunglasses. Say, 50% off with the purchase of a complete pair of regular glasses and frames. This would include the great experience of getting help choosing the right pair and getting that perfect fit from your optical staff. Sure, you won’t make much per sale on the sunglasses, but you will achieve some important gains you can capitalize on, least of which is boosting your regular glasses sales.

lady sunglasses loss leader marketing campaign

But it goes beyond that. For one thing, this will help to change people’s purchasing habits. Once you get people into the frame—no pun intended!—of mind that buying sunglasses from their eye doctor is a great experience, they are far more likely to repeat it. There are certainly already advantages such as more confidence in the product, getting the perfect fit, and, obviously, better lens quality. That means that next time, even without as hot a sale, this person will be more likely to purchase from you again.

Which brings me to my next point. You can now market your next optical event, promotion, sale or whatever to this individual. It’s one reason data and lists are so important. Whether it’s an exclusive deal or wine and cheese event, this person is now more likely to be a willing participant and customer.

A loss leader promotion for sunglasses might be just the thing to bring people in the door. Is the buyer not yet a patient? There’s an opportunity to get that appointment booked. Do a good job and they’ll be back...and hopefully also tell friends and family.

Want help planning promotions or boosting your capture and revenue? Talk to one of our optometry marketing experts today and you just might end the call full to the brim with fantastic growth ideas.

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