SALT LAKE CITY, Utah—Even though its planning began prior to the pandemic, Standard Optical has escalated much of its adoption of digital technology within the past two years, now prioritized as part of its overall goal to simplify and offer a range of options for patients who want to interact in multiple ways with the 100+ year-old family run company, a regional optical leader here for many years. E-commerce in particular, has become part of that new interaction, as a purchasing option, a way to explore product choices to make the in-store visit more productive, sometimes backed by on-screen consults with experienced optical staff for recommendations at the same time.

CEO Aaron Schubach explains that he and his team researched several options and found that the Ocuco group, with a range of omnichannel solutions, would be a good fit. The company was able to integrate various functions with Standard’s existing site and systems and had the experience that would help implement options in a timely way.

Schubach said, “The patient’s experience is not just about what happens inside an office but how they experience your brand everywhere. If they encounter your website, your social media, you want them to have the same connection, the same confidence level in you and your team’s expertise.

“We sell our own brands and name brands in our locations. We want to be able to have them explore, try on virtually, look around, create wish lists but we also want to be able to offer them a complete transaction if that’s what they want to do.”

Standard also is leveraging the optical expertise of its team to offer one-on-one patient chats online, or visually virtual consult sessions where there can be a discussion about face shape, about a patient’s RX needs.

Noted Schubach, “It’s hard to really inform or educate people with a paragraph of written text on a website. So if they choose, they can talk to a live optician face to face where they can have a real dialog. We have a call center in Salt Lake and our call center employees are all certified opticians. We’ve been involving them in this approach and it’s really working well. On a Sunday afternoon when our stores are closed, we’ve had some very productive interactions.”

Schubach also pointed out that “endless aisle” opportunities for customer interactions on the website enable Standard to show product beyond what’s featured in the stores—where perhaps not every physical location in the regional operation carries the same styles. Conversely, with an iPad in the stores, where the group utilizes Smart Mirror too for customers, there’s a way for customers to see other color options of frames on the online site.

Schubach is still evaluating the actual on-site e-commerce revenues and is happy with the actual dollars to date. “But the other benefits of doing this is that it enables Standard to feel current and modern. We’re in a really tech-savvy community here and the impact also is great for our Opticare managed care business, since people can use their benefits on the site as well.

Schubach said, “If you don’t adapt to people’s habits, it doesn’t mean they will always buy online and never come into the store. But it’s more about saying to patients, ‘What do you want to do? How do you want to interact with us?’”