How Your Eye Care Practice Can Compete with Online Optical Retailers

Competing with online optical retailers

How Your Eye Care Practice Can Compete with Online Optical Retailers

Most vision care professionals are concerned about their practice’s long-term success if they can’t keep some of the highest-margin components of their business (optical retail sales) flowing and are easily beaten out by online optical retailers and other competitors’ prices.

In a recent Weave survey, 63% of optometrists said they are concerned about competitors like 1-800 Contacts and Warby Parker.

While you can’t physically restrain patients from leaving the front door of your practice without making a retail purchase, there are ways to make your office and staff a sales machine that captures as much volume as possible.

Here are some tips First Insight and our patient communication system partner Weave found work best to drive more retail sales in your practice.

Pre-sell optical products before your patients arrive.

There are several tasks your staff attempts to have patients complete before they show up for their appointment: confirming their appointment, completing intake forms, and collecting insurance information. But are you doing a good job warming your patients up to purchase new contact lenses, frames, lenses, and cases before they enter the store?

Listing your inventory on your website or asking them to complete a simple digital “preference” form as part of their patient intake process helps you direct them to brands they like and have frames pre-selected before they finish their exam.

Verify the patient’s eye care insurance or vision plan before you start selling.

Amid an uncertain economy, consumers are more price sensitive than ever. Ensuring they understand the cost before setting foot in the office keeps them from balking and helps you close more deals. Communicating this information before the appointment via text messaging keeps patients flowing quickly throughout your office.

Additionally, when you know that at least some portion of sales will walk out the door to an online brand or big-box retailer, your easiest way to grow revenue is to squeeze more sales into the day. Spending 20 minutes to close a sale vs. 40 minutes drives significant efficiency in the practice.

Optometric Billing Pro Tip: Verifying a patient’s insurance eligibility and benefits is a critical first step before you submit an insurance claim to a clearinghouse or vision insurance plan payer. Insurance eligibility verification remains one of the top reasons for claim denials.

Follow up with patients after appointments.

When a patient walks out the door after an appointment with their prescription, you haven’t lost a sale—yet.

You have everything you need to make a sale post-appointment and a leg up on your competition at the digital brands. You already possess the patient’s billing information and phone number and know what brands they want.

A quick text message to all patients 24 hours after their appointment keeps you top of mind and helps you follow up on any discounts or promotions they may have missed while in the office

Double down on the pain points of buying optical products elsewhere.

A quick view of online searches around the big competitors that steal your business is a great way to determine why many patients prefer buying from you instead of an online retailer.

While you may not be able to match certain efficiencies that these retailers have, you do have competitive advantages over them, e.g., allowing patients to try on frames in person, get the right fit with your expertise, and know where to quickly take their frames if adjustments are needed instead of needing to ship anything back to an online store.

Free your staff to sell using optometry patient engagement tools.

Time on the phone scheduling new patient appointments, confirming times, and answering questions about your hours or retail selection is time not spent selling to patients in the office.

With staffing shortages a real struggle for many practices, you may have to decide between keeping your exam rooms full and making retail sales.

Patient engagement tools that integrate with your eye care software, such as and Weave, automate time-consuming and tedious tasks in your business.

In addition, offers built-in patient engagement tools and patient intake forms that make creating and customizing notification templates easy—no third-party integration is required. Control how you market your practice from within with Reputation Management.

Are you ready to take your practice and brand to the next level?

Request an online demo of and see how patient engagement tools will attract more customers, engage patients, and increase patient retention so your patients keep coming back to you for all their eye care needs. Request Information