Are Virtual Try-On Apps An Effective Way To Boost My Optical Revenue?

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Or should I stick with the in-person optical experience?

As the magic of whipping out your phone to snap a selfie took the world by storm, businesses jumped on board to develop technology that could help take the virtual experience even further. With various Virtual Try-On apps abounding, you may wonder if utilizing these services has a worthwhile payoff.

To answer this, we’ve consulted with our Marketing Manager team here at EyeCarePro, who interact daily with our 2000+ optometry clients, helping guide them through their marketing journey. Based on what they’ve told us, we’ve laid out some of the major pros and cons of including a Virtual Try-On experience on your website. It’s almost like speaking to an EyeCarePro Marketing Manager directly!

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The Pros: Advantages of Using Virtual Try-On Glasses Apps

According to consumer statistics gathered by Google, 84% of Americans are shopping for something in any given 48-hour period, and the majority of these buyers’ journeys begin online.

This is true whether they ultimately buy online or in-store.

Virtual Try-On software is an effective way to begin this buyer’s journey by displaying glasses on your website with pre-loaded professional images that the consumer can browse through and engage with. The images are a great way for consumers to both familiarize themselves and learn more about the frames without becoming overwhelmed by the in-store options.

The wish list

Some practices may also use the wish list option that some virtual try-on apps offer, to allow patients to pre-select frames before coming in to try them on. This allows your consumer to come closer to the purchase decision before even stepping foot into your practice. This can be doubly important in places where the number of patients you can have in your clinic at any given time is limited due to pandemic safety considerations. The less time each patient spends making their purchase decision in-house, the more patients you can serve on that day. This translates to increased revenue for your practice. 

Lower Bounce Rate

We have also seen that the page can get a lot of traffic (thanks to a button on the home page directing people to it). This helps engage anyone who visits the website and keeps them on the site longer, lowering your bounce rate.

The Cons: Drawbacks Of the Virtual Try-On Glasses Page

Unfortunately, there are drawbacks to implementing these pages, as well. 

To start out, many practices see a danger in directing their patients to a Virtual Try-On experience, since it risks introducing the idea that buying glasses online is a viable option. In terms of price, in-office opticals are simply not able to compete with online retailers such as Zenni and Warby. So, practices that direct their patients to an online experience may be losing revenue by encouraging those patients to go online to a virtual retailer to purchase their eyewear, after they have already received their prescription in person.

As for the Virtual Try-On software, itself:

The page may not get as much traffic or engagement as you’d hope, for the effort that you put into it. Many of our doctors report that although they invested both time and money into properly implementing their Virtual Try-On software, they rarely hear from patients that they used them prior to coming into the practice. This is also backed up by EyeCarePro’s site traffic analytics, where we see that some of our practices receive ten or fewer visits to their Virtual Try-On page each month. 

The Final Verdict on Virtual Try-On Apps

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Location, Location, Location

In the end, the consensus among our Marketing Managers is this: Virtual Try-On apps can, indeed, be a fun and engaging add-on to sites for certain kinds of practices. However, the majority of our doctors don’t see these pages driving value or converting as effectively as the classic in-patient experience, and so choose not to go in this direction when marketing their opticals.

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