NEW YORK—Can “remote” coexist with “connected?” Many eyecare professionals are finding that there is not as much distance between an online presence and an in-store bond as once was perceived to be the case. The pandemic has enabled consumers as well as ECPs to rethink the role digital outreach can play.

As writer Preston Fassel reports in the Frames Data blog this month, “Griebenow Eyecare in Wisconsin uses My Frame Gallery to successfully compete with bigger practices and online retailers, after initially using it to stay open during COVID.”

“We see about 12,500 patients a year,” said Melissa Sylte, the business manager for the two-location practice, which was especially threatened by the pandemic due to their size, number of employees, and longevity in the local community. “It’s a two-clinic practice with two doctors, we have about 18 employees and Griebenow Eyecare has been in business since 1979.”

When both locations were forced to temporarily close at the height of the pandemic, Sylte got together with her team to strategize how they were going to navigate the strange new world of 2020. The first thing on their list? Implementing a new piece of technology they’d been considering but hadn’t gotten around to yet: My Frame Gallery.

“We launched it in May 2020,” said Sylte. “Our office was closed like many other practices were and we saw it as a good opportunity to talk about all of the electronic and technological services we already had on our to-do list. We found that it was the right time to make use of the time that was given to us in an unfortunate way and do something with it.

“That’s when we started exploring My Frame Gallery and digitizing all our applications. We launched a new website at the same time, so we launched it all together.”

To make sure that the launch was as successful as it could be, Sylte strategized a complex rollout plan built around their automated messaging system.

“We built content into the messaging system to say, ‘Try glasses on from your couch!’” The practice also implemented their website as well as a coordinated social media campaign: “We put a button on our website that said, ‘Try eyeglasses on from your couch!’ Then we did a promotion to kick it all off and advertised it on our Facebook page.

“Those automated messages really helped in getting click-throughs from customers. Especially when they’re getting a reminder, and then it says, ‘While you’re waiting, you can click here and check out some frames in advance! As it turned out, the rollout was a major success.

“That helped get people’s interest… we had people coming in knowing what they wanted, which is always key, pandemic or no pandemic. You always want your patients to already have an idea of what they’re looking for because it speeds up the process for both the patient and the optician.”

When patients began coming back to the dispensary, the response was palpable.

“It definitely had an impact, and actually the Frames Data folks gave me some numbers a while back about how many people were looking at My Frame Gallery. I was blown away. I didn’t realize that many people were looking at it, but now I know patients are really using it, and some of them are looking at it to decide if they want to come to us for an exam or they’re using it as they are shopping around while they’re thinking about their eye exam,” Sylte said.

“Warby Parker has their commercial out ‘You can try on frames on your phone now!’ Now I get to tell my patients, through our Facebook page and online advertising, you can try on your glasses online from our little shop. It’s helpful to compete with online retailers.

“All patients are already looking online. Every private practice already knows that if they’re going to any continuing education conferences. They know people are shopping online. My Frame Gallery allows us to build our online platform and provides us a way of featuring our frames online, too.”

Sylte said My Frame Gallery allows the practice to help form more of a sense of connection between patients and their frames, making them seem like more of an investment and a part of their identity.

Read more about Griebenow’s experience along with more tips and learnings from other ECPs who are using My Frame Gallery. These are posted on the Frames Data blog at