Preparing for the Onset of a ‘New Order’ Mindset

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There’s a quiet revolution taking hold behind the scenes of the optical industry—for sure, in the U.S., and in other parts of the world, too. It’s the re-examination of how optical products get to where they need to be, faster, to better satisfy the customer. This is, specifically: the patient’s choice of a frame (or a sunglass) delivered with a prescription lens inside.

We see the behind the scenes revolution as the onset of new mindset to “the order.” It’s a significant trend which can have positive, competitive and bottom-line impact for all types of ECPs, small independents, as well as the larger players.

“Supply chain” and “fulfillment” have, let’s face it, not been sexy business topics. But it is a certainty that new ordering and service programs just starting to be explored and rolled out in optical—based on years of research, planning and tech capabilities—can reduce the “friction” and pain points within the often splintered process of delivering a complete pair of eyeglasses.

Digitization has brought this about. There is an increasing array of options for making business decisions based on data—What’s selling? When? What? To Whom and How Often?

Do you know this about your dispensary or store? Your customers/patients’ expectations have dramatically changed. And they are not changing back. Via a good (often mobile) Wifi connection, they have easy access to information that lets them surf all businesses with a touch and in seconds.

Combined with changes in how and where they want to spend their time (in a store, at an office or online), there are a range of new influences shaping their eyewear interests, their product exploration and purchasing priorities.

Be assured, this is happening in virtually every business sector. Optical, however, is now playing catch up. It will involve re-examining habits that have built up for dozens of years in a business that is complex and multi-faceted at the very least.

Please don’t think that the revolution in the “New Order” doesn’t apply to you. Be open to what support options are out there and coming on stream. Discuss options with your suppliers, your labs and your staff.

Where can you streamline? What makes sense for your business? You don’t have to leap to change every process all at once. But all signs point in the direction of swifter, faster, smarter product choice, service and support.

maxelrad@jobson.com