NEW YORK—Addressing new ways to elevate the eyecare market while doing good and engaging directly with customers, Reade Fahs, National Vision’s (NVI) president and CEO, and Jacqueline Grove, SVP, talent and development; diversity, equity and inclusion; culture and philanthropy for NVI, shared for the first time some exclusive data and tactics they’ve adopted that illuminate the impact eyewear consumers can make to expand access to good vision.

National Vision’s Reade Fahs (l) and Jacqueline Grove shared data and tactics on how consumers and companies can expand access to good vision.

Fahs said, “1 billion people, which is 15 percent of the world’s population, have a vision problem, but they don’t have access to eyewear and eyecare so their problem goes untreated.

“When the history of solving this global public health issue is eventually written, the chapter we are in now will be remembered as the chapter involving collaboration. In the past, there were lots of individual companies, a lot of individual not for profits, working individually on different aspects of the problem.

“And now we’re in an era where companies and not for profits and what’s called the multilateral of the United Nations, the World Bank and the World Health Organization are all starting to come together and say we can attack this problem in a bigger way and have far more impact if we all start to work together.”

Fahs then turned things over to Grove who explained that National Vision’s customer giving program started with the question, “Why not let our customers help out?”

Grove said, “We took our insights that we learned from one side and we decided to start our own customer giving program in the company. Customer giving is essentially this: You walk into any store you shop at and as soon as you go to pay with your credit card a prompt comes up for you to donate to a charitable cause. So in our case, we’re doing that for mission care so our money goes toward sustainable solutions of putting glasses on people’s faces.

“Our customers love it because in giving back to the world they know they are helping those in need.”

The other thing that National Vision did was introduce the consumer to this concept even before they got to the point of sale where they’re actually making a transaction throughout. Gove explained, “In-store signage is displayed all throughout and it conveys compelling visuals but as you see there, the boy with the glasses, it talks about helping us provide glasses to a billion people who are in need. And then it also says in the fine print that we’re donating $100,000, so we’re giving along with our customers.

“The other thing that we did is we worked with our associates. We gave our associates some very simple basic scripts about what to say because it’s not just the pin pad prompt that creates the magic. It’s that associate saying, ‘Hey, would you like to donate? Here’s where the money’s going.’”

National Vision launched the customer giving program as a test last year and then went nationwide mid-year. The company’s partial year donations totaled $1.5 million for 2023.

“Now we’re trying to do $2.5 million and every single dollar of that goes toward fighting the global vision crisis. Annually, that money is going to allow us to help 1.5 to 2 million people in one year. Over five years, that’s 10 million people,” Grove concluded.