I probably cleaned my room a total of 10 times in my childhood. I had a great mother, but she was not so great at making me clean. Maybe that’s why she never came upstairs because she didn’t want to see the tornado of toys and clothes in every nook and cranny.
The same thing goes for optical showrooms. Sometimes it looks like a storm of frames, brochures, posters, art, POP, knick-knacks, chairs, tools, paper forms, promotional materials, etc., are splattered everywhere. It’s like you just walked into an antique store. Opticals are just like refrigerators at your home, 3 months go by without you cleaning it and all of a sudden it’s dirty and full of food and condiments you’ll never use that just need to be thrown out.
The cleaner aesthetic your optical can have, the easier it will be for your patients to make eyewear-buying decisions. Now, I don’t mean make your office look like a barebones apartment, just focus on decluttering.
Start by removing all the cardboard POP tents
The junkiest-looking thing in nearly every optical is the cardboard picture tents that manufacturers send with opening orders. They may be inexpensive for frame companies to print and send offices, but they also make the office look cheap. I know it’s nice that it shows models wearing the eyewear, or it features logos for branding, but they get crunched and crinkled.
Other cheap cardboard graphics you frequently see in optical are cardboard picture tints. They have an easel on the back to prop the picture up. These pictures generally warp and look silly on shelves. Again, nothing is attractive about cruddy paper displays.
There are very few eyewear suppliers out there that develop quality displays and knick-knacks to accompany eyewear and create that brand vibe in your store.
Throw away acrylic branding blocks
The next most popular piece of merchandising junk frame that manufacturers like to send are acrylic brand blocks. They usually feature the logo or written name of the brand. They are about 6 inches long. After 5 years of buying a bunch of different frame lines, you will laugh at how many of these blocks you have accumulated in your office junk room.
I totally understand the purpose of the blocks…it’s meant to let optical shoppers know which brand is in front of them. My beef with these blocks is that it serves no other purpose beyond that. It doesn’t tell the brand story and you just end up with 10 of these blocks all around the store. It starts to look cheesy, to say the least. Again, the blocks are fairly cheap for manufacturers to produce and this is why they give them to you.
Throw away the posters
Another lame excuse manufacturers give eye care professionals are posters. They roll them up and ship them in tubes for us. What do they expect us to do with them then? I have seen many opticals just tack them to walls. This looks really trashy though. The posters they send are really beautiful, but it takes away from the aesthetic when it’s just stuck on the wall with no frame. But this would become expensive trying to frame every poster you get and having to figure out the exact dimensions to get an appropriate size. I think you get the point, it’s just not practical. The posters don’t really serve a purpose since there are no good ways to present the frame lines in your optical. It would be too cost-prohibitive to constantly frame them ourselves.
Your POP should help tell a story.
If the junky cardboard that vendors ship you just show a smiling face, I don’t think that’s telling the story. Here are a few things POP should let the perspective eyewear buyer know:
- Where is it made?
- What materials is it made of?
- What inspired the design?
- A highlight of special technical features
- A highlight of special artistic design
Telling a story doesn’t always mean using words. POP pictures can show someone playing tennis. This hints that the glasses are sporty. If the picture was of a woman in a sexy dress, it would indicate these glasses are meant for fancy dressing up or professional attire. You want the POP to educate the consumer just enough to peak their interest enough to try it on.
Go for simplicity in your merchandising.
Don’t overcrowd your displays. Don’t make it look like an antique store unless that is your optical vibe.
You’ve probably been to a store like TJ Maxx or a thrift store. These are discount stores who promote really cheap prices. Part of the shopping experience is the adventure of finding a hidden clothing gem amongst cramped and packed racks of clothes. You have to sift through each t-shirt to find the perfect one.
People frequent private practices and boutique opticals because they want a shopping experience that’s easy and not cluttered. If you have a glass shelf displaying eyewear, leave space between each frame. It’s really tempting to use the space to the max, but it will just confuse patients.
Use co-op money for displays
If you spend enough money with frame companies, many times they are willing to gift you a free-standing display or subsidize the costs based on your purchasing volume. It’s amazing how a nicely-lit display can affect eyewear sales. I’m sure you have many sunglass displays with nice lighting and you wouldn’t know how to properly display the Sunwear without them.
The key is to ask the eyeglass manufacturers if they have displays. Many times, the reps just forget to mention it. Face it, displays are a pain for frame manufacturers to ship. They have to crate them up, ship them, and deliver them. The expense can be heavy. However, the rewards of having great branded eyewear displays are very worth it.
You are the brand!
If you take away one thing from this decluttering blog, it’s that your optical and practice IS YOUR BRAND and no one else’s! Just because you sell 10 optical brands and 2 lens brands, your optical is still YOURS. You may be tempted to tell your patient exactly what lens name they are getting because you have the promotional lens mats on your dispensing desks, but the truth is patients don’t care. You may be tempted to tell patients extensive stories about the frame brands, but most people just want a pretty or handsome frame. Of course, there are exceptions and some people are brand-obsessed. Just remember, you are the brand and don’t let anyone else brainwash you. Let small businesses thrive!