VSP Global Establishes Internal Task Force to Explore Online Optical; Names Plevyak to Lead Initiative

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RANCHO CORDOVA, Calif.—VSP Global has appointed a long-time executive to lead a new online optical initiative, including overseeing an internal task force to examine the online space.

Dave Plevyak has been named vice president of business development for the initiative. In a statement, VSP Global said, "Recognizing a growing shift in the eyewear purchasing behaviors of consumers, VSP Global launched an internal task force, which includes cross-divisional representation from each line of business, to explore solutions that best support private practice eyecare providers in the emerging online optical market. Plevyak will be leading the task force as the internal working group moves into the next phase of its focus."

VSP told VMail that the task force has been working for the past several months and VSP anticipates announcing their recommendations in early 2011. The task force’s efforts are guided by three key goals. These are, according to the company, "to direct revenue lost to online purchases back into private practice, to capture patients inclined to shop online and bring them back to private practice and to reach new patients shopping online and refer them to private-practice offices."

“We believe it’s important for VSP Global to help private practice eyecare providers compete aggressively in this growing marketplace and are focused on developing a solution that supports VSP providers,” said board chairman, Timothy Jankowski, OD, FAAO. “To that end, we’ve been conducting online polls and collecting direct feedback from VSP doctors and office staff across the country to help determine the best response to the changing marketplace.”

VSP cited statistics from The Vision Council VisionWatch Internet Influence Report which reflects online optical purchases increasing, including 2009 numbers that show a 300 percent increase from 2007 in online eyeglass purchases bringing the number sold to one million, including 3.2 million non-prescription sunglasses purchased online and that 5.5 million U.S. adults purchased contact lenses online.

“The reality is that consumers are turning online to purchase everything. From small purchases such as household supplies to big ticket items like major household appliances and home theater sound systems, consumers can buy just about anything with a click of a mouse,” Plevyak said. “Eyewear is no exception.”

Plevyak has served in various roles within VSP for nearly two decades. In addition to working as an executive at Eyefinity/OfficeMate, he has also held management positions at VSP Vision Care in underwriting, finance, marketing and corporate development. As the leader of the VSP corporate development team, he played a pivotal role in the acquisition of nine companies including Marchon Eyewear in 2008. His responsibilities have also included the management of eBusiness and business intelligence for VSP. Plevyak received an MBA in Business Administration with an economics emphasis from Claremont Graduate School and a B.S. in Business Administration from Santa Clara University.