The New World Order

By Deirdre Carroll and Marge Axelrad

View a pdf of The New World Order

NEW YORK—Buying optical products for your practice isn’t what it used to be. New online resources are transforming the daily experience of ordering and reordering for thousands of eyecare professionals and optical retailers. 2011 has seen a significant uptake in the number of ECPs now using the internet to source frames, lenses and other products every day. And, from the experience of labs, distributors and suppliers in the field, projections are even higher for 2012 online B2B ordering to become more mainstream.

Last month, in the first part of this VM cover series, The New World Order: Innovative Features Power Up B2B Online Ordering, we explored how the larger optical internet portals such as Eyefinity, VisionWeb, ABB Concise and ODG are reporting increased business-to-business (B2B) ordering “traction” among more ECPs than ever before. According to these experts, online ordering has become a more efficient, cost-effective way for busy practices to communicate with their suppliers. In short, the new world order.

In this second part of our report, we concentrate specifically within the frame arena to talk to a sampling of companies who have already been enhancing their password-protected B2B sites with a range of new features, resources, services and updated processes to streamline communications as well as ordering capabilities for their accounts.

A study conducted in August 2011 by Practice Advancement Associates on behalf of VisionWeb, one of the primary internet portals through which ECPs can place orders, found that ECPs defined the benefits of online ordering to include “24/7 availability, an ability to check order status online, no waiting time to reach a rep on the phone, and fewer errors.”

Eyewear company executives for this report concur. Several have been surprised at the rate of adoption among ECPs in this past year—some are already seeing as much as 20 percent of their incoming B2B orders being processed via their websites. This is leading them to continue to develop and augment what they offer to complement what their sales reps can achieve in face-to-face onsite meetings with their customers.

Vision Monday
will continue to monitor this phenomenon and post site updates and enhancements as they come online from other companies. In the meantime, here’s a glimpse of how some frame suppliers are tapping this revolutionary new trend.