CECOP USA, an affiliate of the global CECOP organization, has been active in the U.S. since May 2020 and helps independent optical practices thrive and increase their bottom-line profit. CECOP USA offers discounts, promotions, consolidated billing, marketing services, HR services, training, continuing education and financial consulting resources. With no membership fees and a growing vendor base, the group continues to strive to be the ECP’s trusted partner.

Ignacio Macias

CECOP USA currently boasts around 1,700 members in the U.S. while internationally CECOP has more than 8,000 members, according to CEO Ignacio Macias. “We are truly the largest global support organization dedicated to independent optometry.”

Over the past year, CECOP remained focused on delivering what its membership wanted despite a challenging business environment, including improved loyalty programs. Current member benefits include: help with vendor issues that are resolved within 48 hours 98 percent of the time, one bill for the more than 150 vendors CECOP USA works with, considerable buying power, financial consulting, continuing education and training, and marketing services.

“Without a doubt, the biggest challenge we have faced as an organization this past year was the wave of private equity acquisition and consolidation seen throughout the market,” said Macias. “To respond, we relied on our innovation and adaptability as an organization. We adopted a much more aggressive sales and marketing strategy that has already paid dividends. In addition, we improved our loyalty programs and engagement efforts with our current members to retain more business and detect ownership changes sooner.

“In 2022, we improved our loyalty program to give back more of what our most engaged members spend. In addition, we have created unique and exciting programs with the vendors most utilized by our membership base.”

Looking ahead in 2023, the group expects a different financial landscape, with an eye on a possible recession and with further tightening of budgets.

“We are entering 2023 in the context of a completely different financial and economic landscape,” said Macias. “However, when independent ECPs look to tighten their belts, they turn to and rely upon organizations like CECOP to mitigate the effects of the economy. We also expect manufacturers to be more aggressive with promotions. This is another area where we step in. Working tirelessly with our vendor partners, we ensure all our members are aware of the best deals available to them and how to take advantage of them to help their bottom line.

“Looking to 2023, we want to continue servicing our members where they need it the most,” Macias said. “We know cash flow can be a big issue in a recession, therefore, we founded our CECOP 60 program for new members to permit additional payment terms.”

Also new for 2023 is the CECOP Experts Committee, a resource for ECPs in which they can engage with key opinion leaders on industry issues.

“We are very excited to announce our new CECOP Experts Committee,” said Macias. “The Experts Committee is a resource to help independents be more successful by relying on key opinion leaders to identify pain points experienced by all independent ECPs and find solutions to offer the community of like-minded individuals.

“We are also reinforcing our sales to continue to offer our members outstanding consultative support. We have increased our investment in marketing as well as customer service so we can continue to solve 98 percent of issues within 48 hours for our growing membership,” Macias said.