SVS Vision uses social media platforms
Facebook and Twitter to promote trunk
shows. The company has also featured
their accounts in new advertisements.

NEW YORK—Today’s optical retailers and ECPs are once again discovering trunk shows as a way to deepen relationships between brands and customer, including Schaeffer Eye Center, Vision Source Rhodes Ranch, and SVS Vision. Business owners say they are focusing on these special events in the hope that by adding awareness to a particular line, they can strengthen visitors’ loyalty to their own bottom line as well as to the eyewear brand.

In this three-part series,
VM spoke with retailers, ECPs and suppliers throughout the U.S., outlining the details of hosting a trunk show and uncovering the impact those shows have on an optical business. Following are profiles of three businesses and their unique experiences hosting
trunk shows.

For more information, be sure to read Part One for profiles from our first three retailers and Part Two where suppliers weigh in.

And take a look at Vision Monday's exclusive Trunk Show Checklist to help you plan your own event:

Who to feature? Evaluate which collections you carry: What is the most popular? Perhaps one you’d like to see grow? A trunk show will expose that brand to your customers, either as a formal introduction of a new line or a further exploration of an old favorite.

When to have it? It’s important to think about what works best for your customers. If your patients are suburban families, an evening or weekend timeslot might suit their schedules. Weekends are also recommended for boutiques and dispensaries seeking street traffic and window shoppers. Full weekday events provide maximum traction and exposure with regularly scheduled appointments and long-time customers.

How to promote? Advertising materials from postcards, counter cards, e-mail blasts, Facebook events, Twitter postings, newspaper ads, even calling patients are all available to you. Be sure to check with your vendor if they have custom marketing materials—most will provide fliers and banners. Then aim to send out “save the date” announcements six to eight weeks before your event.

Should you order food? Snacks and drinks will bring some extra guests through the door. Just remember, there’s no need for a full spread as the emphasis here is on the eyewear.

Extra tables? Depending on the size of your location, you might need to have extra surfaces brought in so the showcase collection can be displayed in full.

Decorating the office? This is a special event. Make sure guests know that the minute they walk in. Centerpieces might be overboard but dressing up the office in a smaller way (flowers, tablecloths, outdoor signage) will make attendees feel welcome and let them know you take pride and this is a
special event.

How to prep staff? ECPs said that one of the key benefits of hosting trunk shows is the invigoration such events provide an optical staff. Set aside time for employees to learn as much about the collection from the brand rep prior to interacting with patients. The enthusiasm will permeate and the impact will have an all around positive effect.

What to do with the reps? Brand reps are there to fill in all the information you may not know about a collection. So reach out to them and refer your customers their way. The suppliers VM spoke with were more than prepared and even happy to help out optical staff for the day. Since you’re all there for the same reason, everyone’s effort makes
a difference.

Now that it’s over? Congratulations! You’ve successfully hosted your first trunk show. Chances are it went so well you’ll want to have another soon. Keep in touch with your brand rep for updates on new collections or future show ideas. And don’t be afraid to reach out to reps from other brands you carry—some of the most successful trunk shows can be multiple brand efforts.

Delia Paunescu, Assistant Editor