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8 Tips for Doing Competitor Analysis in Optometry

One of the smartest and most effective ways to grow and develop your optometry brand is to research your competition. Keeping tabs on what other market players are doing helps you identify their strengths and weaknesses. This, in turn, can help you create a unique value proposition that makes your own services stand out. Here are ten easy ways to perform competitor analysis in optometry:

1. Go to Professional Conferences

Attending trade shows, professional conventions, and conferences is an excellent way to stay up to date with what your competitors are doing. Interact with their representatives to learn about their services and product offerings.

2. Read Industry Reports

This can help you gain insight into the current market conditions and the latest advancements in the industry. Corporate and even privately held optometry firms have to file certain reports with various regulatory authorities on a regular basis. These might be available directly on the local planning commissions’ website, or you may get access on request. Jobson has great surveys and information that they post.

3. Check Out Your Competitor’s Online Marketing Strategy

Every business in the modern world has an online presence. Browsing your competitor’s website can tell you a lot about their services and how they operate. If you have a basic know-how of SEO, you can use tools Google Trends to identify how other optometrists are attracting visitors. Take note of social media platforms they are using, how they post and what content they post. Engagement is key, how are they engaging their audience?

6. Email Strategy

You can subscribe to your competitor’s newsletter on their website. This will keep you in the loop in regards to how they communicate with their customers. You will get insist information on new topics or products in your inbox!

7. Secret Shopper

This is hands down the most comprehensive strategy for doing a competitor analysis in optometry. Getting someone to get information on employees, supplies price points and how patients view the practice is critical.

8. Partnerships

Look out for any advertisements and job openings that other players in the industry may post from time to time. Pay attention what they are looking for in a candidate and who they partner with for their business. You should be thinking big picture long term.

Eye-Opening Truth: Corporate Optometry Myths Debunked

For many optometrists, both young and experienced, the term ‘corporate optometry’ has a rather negative connotation. It resonates with unpleasant work settings, long working hours, stunted career growth, and whatnot. This is mostly because of the misconceptions and stereotypes that surround the field of corporate optometry.

Take a look at some of the most common corporate optometry myths to see if you have also believed them to be true so far.

1. As a Corporate OD don’t do Medical.

Refracting lies at the core of optometry, and as such, is a major part of corporate practices too. However, it sure isn’t the ‘only’ thing that ODs do at the job.

Many don’t realize this but as a corporate OD, you can easily practice full-scope optometry or even specialize in a particular medical model for eyecare if you prefer.

2. Exams are different in a corporate setting.

This is one of those corporate optometry myths that are loosely based around perspective. Many Corporate ODs will practice just like ODs in a private practice. Many times Corporate locations have the latest technology to better assist ODs with their exams.

The reality, however, is that patients aren’t biased about the type of setting in optometry. If you perform comprehensive eye examinations and are able to satisfy your patients with regards to the treatment options and answering their queries, they will choose your practice regardless of whether it’s centrally managed or privately run. Corporate ODs do dilate their patients and treat eye disease.

3. Corporate ODs Need to Sell Eye wear

If you think corporate ODs are required to promote the optical and upsell its products and services, you aren’t in the minority.

Unfortunately, that might be true in some cases, but that fact is that you can work as a corporate OD and still be completely independent from the company – at least with regards to being forced to increase the business’s sales.

Depending on which brand you join, you can enjoy full autonomy over treating your patients. You won’t be pressurized into making recommendations that you know aren’t really required by the patient.

5. Corporate ODs Only Accept Vision Care Plans

This might be true to some extent depending on which enterprise you join. Some corporate ODs may see a high level of vision plans because the company markets to patients in that optical side. However, many corporate optometry practices cater to medical eye care patients too. This allows you to build your medical expertise in the real sense.

We hope debunking these common corporate optometry myths has opened your eyes to the truth and increase your willingness to gain field experience in this eye care setting.

Tips on How to Sell When Patients Just want an Rx.

In the current environment, many patients are price concise. Many small business owners are struggling with the increased costs and increased demands to provide a safe environment.

Here are some tips on how to sell a glasses or contacts when your patients are looking for just an Rx.

Let’s take a look at some tips on how to be smarter when it comes to selling.

1. Be Smarter When It Comes to Research

The last thing you should do is stop exploring new opportunities even when the sales are slow. Even when you think customers aren’t interested in your products and there’s no point in wasting resources on customer acquisition, you still need to talk to people to learn about the reason why customers don’t buy and what you need to do differently.

Owing to the current crisis, what most customers are buying has drastically changed, but that doesn’t mean you should stop selling products that add value to your customers’ lives. Check in with your customers every now and then to learn if what they’re buying has changed from what they were buying a couple of months ago.

It’s also important to let your customers know what they’re missing out on, show them a new market that they can exploit, and facilitate their buying journey.

2. Think like a Customer

Instead of believing the narrative that no one’s interested in buying from you, you need to look for people who are buying, regardless of the circumstances, and why so you can learn how to market your products better and let your customers know how you’re adding value to their lives and solving the problems they’re facing.

You need to think like a customer in order to determine what’s keeping you from buying things you’d otherwise purchase. Envision the buyer’s journey to identify the hurdles they face so you can look for ways to make the whole process much easier for them.

3. Identify What Your Customers Need

There’s nothing wrong with asking customers what they’re looking for and how you can be of service. This is your time to learn about your target market and understand their pain points so you can offer products that help make their lives easier. Even if you offer those products

now, you can always offer them in the future. Once you’ve gained the trust of your patients and built a strong relationship with them, it’ll be a lot easier for you to sell to them.

It’s important to pay close attention to other things your customers buy that are similar or complementary to your products so you can have more of an advantage selling to them in the future.

Bottom Line

Even though the present circumstances have caused many small businesses to go bankrupt, they’ve allowed most of us to think and prepare for the future in a way we hadn’t before.

You need to take this time to explore newer offerings that can put you out of business if you carried on the same way and figure out strategies that can help you sustain your business in the long run.

Improving Patient Satisfaction: 5 Questions Optometrists Should Ask Themselves.

The optometry industry is so highly competitive. If you want to rise above the competition and take your practice to great heights, improving patient satisfaction should be your top priority.

There are many ways in which you can build a strong relationship with your patients so that they stay loyal to your services for the long term.

Following are the five most important things you need to consider when growing your brand.

What Tools Do You Need?

Technology can help your practice in various ways. Certain tools can help streamline operations and enhance productivity, whereas others can help reduce bottlenecks, unnecessary redos, ease scheduling, and so on.

To build your practice, the first thing you need to decide is the type of tools that you will need. For this, you need to look into the main areas that need improvement.

For instance, if you want to make patient scheduling more efficient, a software system might help. Or if you want to build a stronger rapport with the patients by providing pre and post-treatment support, starting an online blog that discusses different issues might be the way to go. You want to promote those blogs on your Facebook page and in your newsletters.

What Is Your Social Media Marketing Strategy?

If you aren’t leveraging social media to improve your brand, you are only shooting yourself in the foot.

Being active on different social media platforms can help create brand awareness. However, you shouldn’t use these sites for advertisement purposes only.

Rather, you should use social media to establish a smooth and efficient, two-way communication with your patients and potential patients.

Are You Showcasing Your Practice Reviews Online?

Encourage your patients to rate and review your services online. Positive online reviews are worth their weight in gold and can be far more beneficial for your practice than you may have imagined.

Moreover, positive ratings push your website higher up on the search engine results page. So, your practice is likely to become more noticeable to people when they look for terms such as “optometrist in Chicago”. Think like your patients think and you will be ahead of the competition.

However, keep in mind that while positive reviews can work wonders for your brand image, a negative one can easily taint it too. Using a technology solution such as online reputation management services can prevent you from losing potential patients due to negative feedback from an angry client.

How is your website appearance?

In today’s digital age, it is common for patients to search for and browse the clinic’s website when considering a new OD.

First impressions matter. Therefore, make sure that your website has a prim and proper presentation. It should be up-to-date and offer vital information at a glance. This includes the services you offer, hours of operation, contact details, and other info.

Also, pay attention to the message you send out.

Your website presentation and the info it contains should make the visitor more confident in choosing you.

Is Your Website Mobile-Friendly? According to google analytics, more than 65% of all web traffic comes from mobile phone users.

Put simply, having a great website may not provide you with the best benefits unless it is optimized for mobile phones too. Make sure it loads quickly and looks impressive on desktops, tablets, and smartphones alike. It needs to be a seamless experience. You have a few seconds to capture their attention!

Bottom Line

Happy and satisfied patients stay not only committed to your services but also enable new patient acquisition by generating positive feedback.

Focus on the aspects of improving patient satisfaction discussed above, and you can take your practice from surviving to thriving.

Corporate OD Reopening Survey

58% are seeing 2 patients per hour
23% are seeing 1 patient per hour
17% are seeing 3 patients per hour
2% are seeing 4 or more per hour

Corporate Optometry surveyed 348 corporate optometrists to see how many patients they will see an hour as they reopen their practice. Generally corporate opticals are high volume locations. Corporate ODs were provided ppe supplies by there corporate partners. All the safety precautions and protocols have been reinstated to provide a safe environment for the ODs, staff and patients.

With these new changes, the number of patients being seen per hour has changed as well. Many ODs have reduced their days but extended their hours. Others have reduced hours per day and kept the number per days. In the chart above a 58% of Corporate ODs will see 2 patients per hour as they reopen their practices. Many feel that is a safe number to do an exam and have time to clean after each patient.

How are adjusting to the new norm in your practice?

Corporate ODs should evaluate the optical side of the business in corporate optometry.

There are so many different factors to consider  in the business aspects of  corporate optometry. Many ODs will focus on their own business and ignore the optical.  Their success is your own success in corporate optometry. Evaluating the corporate optical should be part of the Corporate ODs business plan.

Here are some questions to ask : This information should be something that you have access to

What is the gross revenue of the optical?

Has the optical grown over the last year?

What is the sales to staff ratio?

Which staff member generates most income for the optical?

What are the hours of operation?

How much money does the optical generate,  how many are outside sales vs from you?

What is the per patient transaction ?

What is the percentage of sales that are upgrades?

How does that optical compare to the over all region and company?

Is the practice driven by managed care?

How much money do they spend on marketing and appearance of location?

 

The optical business is largely driven by the optical staff. The optical staff can really influence your business as well.  Understanding the importance of the optical growth to your own business will help you set goals that can be achieved by you and the optical manager. Consider involving regional management if you feel that your location is not reaching the potential that you believe it could be.

A Guide to Merchant Services: What You Need to Know

5 FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT MERCHANT ACCOUNTS in Corporate Optometry.

Corporate Optometrists need to get a merchant service that is right for their business. Read more.

1) Are merchant services right for my business?
Merchant services can really help your business grow and control costs. Engaging a payment processor that uses their own products and technology is more likely to be cost effective. Fraud prevention and data security are as paramount online as they are in-store. Choosing a merchant provider that specializes in eCommerce, for example, will ensure that you can securely accept payments from all major credit cards, as well processing popular virtual payment types, such as Apple Pay.
The best merchant services can transform how your business manages transactions, saving you both time and money, allowing you to focus on other areas of your business.
2) Will I be approved for a merchant account?
This will depend on your type of business, and whether the credit card networks have assigned you any risk factors. You may experience a longer application process, or be required to pay higher fees for transactions with a bigger risk factor.
3) How much will it cost to have a merchant account?
The cost of accepting credit card payments can vary. It’s important to note what fees will be assessed for your company, which will be laid out in the initial contract. The fees you are responsible for will include both interchange rates and processing fees. Depending on the payment processor you choose, there may be room to negotiate a better, or lower rate for your business.
4) How long will it take before I’m up and running?
The setup process is dependent on different variables of a business, like size and card acceptance method. Larger more established businesses that require multiple POS systems in multiple locations, for example, could experience a more extensive setup.
5) What type of POS do I need?
The type of terminal you need will depend on the type of payment method your business will be accepting. If you are based in a single location, a POS terminal may be the best option, however, if you are on the move, then a virtual terminal or mobile device that works with an integrated app, for example, would be a better option.

Brand Identity in Corporate Optometry

Creating a brand within a corporate optometry setting has never been more important than today, yet a lot of ODs ignore the power of creating a brand identity for their own practice. Your practice brand is what patients identify you as. Developing a brand successfully will be able to differentiate yourself from other optometrists and the corporate setting.

Being affiliated with a corporate setting inside a Sears Optical or JcPenny Optical has the power of brand recognition for attracting patients, yet once there you don’t want patients to remember you as the eye doctor inside Sears Optical. You want patients to remember your name and create loyalty where they come to the office to see you, not just for the optical sale or because you take their insurance. Brand identity is important, if you choose to move your practice to a different location.

 

Check out more at https://corporateoptometry.com/product/brand-image/

Podcast

Partnering with Optical Staff for Sublease Success.

Corporate Optometry Nation Podcast interviews Dr Diana Ramirez. Dr Ramirez has a sublease with Walmart in Texas. She was awarded 2020 OD of the Year at Walmart for Excellence in Patient Care. Listen in to the podcast was Dr Sampalis interviews her about how she works with the optical staff to secure her success in her own practice. Learn how to motivate and partner with the optical staff in corporate optometry.

Corporate Optometry India Part 3

Optometry and Youth: Catch Them Young !!

Current scenario in Indian Optometry

Indian optometry is at a very interesting and critical juncture. The allied and health care council bill 2018 is tabled in the upper house of the parliament and gone to the standing committee for deliberation with various stakeholders. Their suggestions will be considered and revised bill will be presented in the parliament.

It could be a giant step towards professional recognition of Optometry.

We have the Optometry Council of India (OCI), a peer regulating body with the responsibility of establishing & maintaining high standards of optometry education & recognition of optometry qualifications in India. The Indian Optometry Federation (IOF) is an umbrella organization of various associations. State associations are members of this association. Lobbying with govt about optometry rights etc. Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry (ASCO) works with the institutes to standardize curricula, infra structure and also towards capacity building of educators. These organizations are doing a good job in getting optometry recognized by the government and bringing standardization within the profession.  In other words, we are getting our house in order.

The other important aspect is creating awareness about the profession and getting public recognition. We need people to know about optometry and its scope. We want people to come asking for the optometrist for a comprehensive eye test. For that each optometrist has to offer the best clinical eye examination and provide the best services to patients.

This is exactly why I chose to focus on the awareness part. Looking at the students’ enthusiasm and creativity I thought they can definitely contribute a lot in this area. One fine day a group of optometry students and fresh graduates was formed and it still continues to work cohesively as one unit.

Role of youth

Almost everything that is great has been done by youth- Benjamin Disraeli

We are sitting on a gold mine. Probably it is the largest untapped resource. There are more than 50 institutes offering a 4-year B. Optometry program. Imagine the number of students graduating every year. Most of them are technologically savvy. They are very active on social media. They are happy to travel and meet new people. Most of the students I have seen are are passionate about the profession and want to contribute in a significant way. If we can channelize their energy and creativity, we can do wonders. There is no dearth of raw talent. They need direction. They need acknowledgement & recognition. More importantly they need to have the feeling that they belong to the community.

How have they contributed till now?

These students and fresh graduates have been very active in last twelve months or so. One group has started ‘Let’s RevolutionaryEYES’ – Social media presence on Facebook, Instagram, twitter and youtube. They regularly post content related to eyecare and eye related facts etc. The platform serves to both optometrists and public. As ‘World Optometry Day’ is celebrated across the world on 23rd March, 23rd of every month is dedicated to #Optometry #Eyecare. All social media channels are flooded with eye care related posts on this day. It is a great way to catch attention of people.

Another team created an explanatory video about scope of optometry. It covers what students are taught in a four-year course and what investigations an optometrist can perform. A poem composed by one group along with visuals was so well received by all that it even reached the govt. officials and was appreciated.

The Optometry Council of India (OCI) required eye awareness posters for their pan India campaign. These students conceptualized and designed posters with innovative ideas. Their efforts were recognized by OCI and Bausch + Lomb and these posters are being used extensively now.

This group also raised some fund through their efforts and contribution to the field. What is heartening to know is that they donated to the Kerala flood victims. Along with talent today’s optometry youth also has Good values.

Their energy and creativity were at display during awareness walks and street plays on World Sight Day.

Recently four new graduates under the supervision of Masterclass Optometry conceptualized and organized a program ‘Shaping Millennial’s for final year students. This program was developed considering what confusion a graduating student goes through. Over 225 students from 13 institutes were benefited from expert’s guidance.

Way forward 

We have just unlocked the potential of this goldmine. We need to keep nurturing these minds. They need to be kept busy in a right way. We are already working on a new project wherein the Optometry Council of India needs Optometrists to approach high schools and counsel the class 11,12 students about optometry, refractive errors and eyecare in general. Many of these fresh graduates from different parts of India have already offered to be a part of this project. We are really excited to see how it works. You never know, going forward we could help them find the right placement for work. Also, we could establish international links wherein these youngsters can freely interact with international students and experts.

The future definitely belongs to the youth. The youth of today are the leaders of tomorrow. Its time for the senior optometrists to acknowledge their potential and help them convert it into performance. Young ODs need role models NOT just critics !!