INDIANOLA, Iowa—Keith Benjamin started Optician Success as a weekly newsletter a little over a year ago, with the intention of helping opticians and independent optical shops keep pace with changes in retail and marketing. As the subscribership grew to over 10,000 people, he realized that a large number of those readers were optometrists interested in achieving greater retail success, so, as of January 2018, Optician Success has become Optical Retail Success.
When he first launched the blog as Optician Success, Benjamin’s aim was to discuss the importance of being able to adapt in the always changing technological climate we’re in. “I wanted to help people—opticians in particular—grow beyond industry norms. In this new world of ever-accelerating change, we have to be willing to question the status-quo, to look at things differently, to take risks and learn from both our successes and failures,” he explained.
For Benjamin, Optical Retail Success is all about discussing ways in which ECPs can go beyond just the eye exam or transaction with their patients. It’s about different ways of engaging so that when that patient walks out, they have more to talk about their experience than just the new pair of glasses they may have purchased.
“One of the biggest industry norms I argue against is the insistence on positioning eyewear as a medical device. As online retail grows and the way we make purchasing decisions changes, customer experience is becoming incredibly important,” Benjamin stated.
“People do not associate medical devices and medical environments with positive experiences. If we expect people to get off their couches and visit our stores, we have to give them something to look forward to, not dread. We need to start thinking about how we can make optical retail a destination instead of a biannual obligation.”
In a Dec. 7 post titled “Tale of Two Opticals,” Benjamin chronicled his own personal experience at two different boutiques. The difference between the two, he noted, was treating people like customers and not patients. More than just asking for insurance information and other procedural questions, the experience starts the moment the customer walks into the door. Creating an environment where people want to, “stay, explore and interact,” for Benjamin, is the key to creating an experience that is memorable and in turn helps retain a customer base.
In addition to the blog posts, another aspect of Optical Retail Success is the weekly Optician Works videos. Each week, Laramy-K aims to produce “unbiased, helpful and entertaining” optician training videos to their YouTube channel. “We saw the majority of training material available to opticians as little more than advertising for the industry’s largest companies. So, as an independent lab, we thought we could do better,” Benjamin explained.
While it’s difficult to tell which of his blog posts on Optical Retail Success resonate with people the most, YouTube viewership is easier to gauge. Watch, “Polycarbonate and Trivex Lenses: A Shocking Comparison,” one of the channel’s most popular videos below.