Most brick and mortar stores are struggling with gaining customers and loyalty. Eyecare professionals are not the exception: Contact Lenses, Eyewear and Sunglasses are even more competitive today than ever. In fact a quick check there were over 200 new online eyewear companies opening up last year. The question that consistently arises is how to compete and what does the brick and mortar location have to do.
We have put together 10 MUST for Brick and Mortar Eyecare Stores to compete in todays times.
1.) Outside Signage must be visible and clearly stating office. Doctors names, hours of operation and website should be visible and readable some place. The outside must look inviting: no faded signs, no dead plants and good lighting .
2.) Inside Signage/Merchandise: There must be a clear designation of products and services. It must be easy to navigate the selection and options available. Mirrors, Lens Centers, Accessories sections and brands are important distinctions.
3.) Clean: The inside must be spotlessly clean. No dust, no cobwebs around outdated posters, no faded posters, no stained ceilings, no yellow lighting.
4.) Staffing: Must have enough staff working that can answer all questions. Today No-One wants to wait for an answer. There should be enough staff so people do not have to wait to check in or pick up their glasses, the phone should be picked up within three rings.
5.) Must have friendly and engaging staff. The biggest asset a brick and mortar has is the human connection. Staff Must Smile and Must Greet patients. Nothing off puts a patient more than a cranky staff member.
6.) Must Have Respect For The Customer: The customer obviously respected you as they came to buy from you. Extend the courtesy back, as they are the reason you are in existence. Remember that and thank and appreciate them.
7.) Must offer a variety of payment options which should be posted. We are entering into a cashless society, It is no longer just about Visa and Master Card. Consider options such as PayPal or Apple Pay.
8.) Be Unique. Standout somewhere. Whether your merchandising is show-stopping, whether you have Eye-Catching products showcased, Maybe offering exclusives, luxury. Make your office a desting destination choice. What tactile sensory experience will your patients encounter coming in the door?
9.) Stay in Touch– Use social media, written newsletters, recall cards, target market, birthday and holiday greetings, recall, trunk shows. Follow up with personal thank you’s, let them know if the lab broke the frame, it is on backorder and more. Be proactive and respect the customer.
10.) Invest in your office and staff. and keep abreast of trends in brick and mortar retailing. Update equipment, software and decor. Invest in a great new and mobile friendly website, look at omni channel marketing.
Bottom line Utilize digital technology to make a seamless and exception customer service experience. Train and retrain staff to deal with digital technology and the new customer service experience.