The Game Changers Opticians Should Watch Out For
With businesses crawling back to normalcy, it's time for opticians to look at the challenging times as an opportunity to transform! Siraj Bolar, Editor-in-Chief, VisionPlus magazine, talks about the game changers for the opticians in the times to come
The last few months have been very unfavourable for any business except for maybe some sections of medical practice like labs, hospitals and vaccine companies. Given the pandemic and the paranoia surrounding it, these sections of the medical practice are likely to have made big bucks.
In this scenario, if anyone tries to find a collective voice of the optician community from any part of the country, my assumption is that the same sentiment is likely to resonate across the nation. Unfortunately, this is not a happy sentiment because we will hear the optical community complaint about their pain and discomfort.
Interestingly, the pandemic is just one part of their agony; the other area of concern for most opticians is to perceive and counter the advent of online businesses like Lenskart, Cool Winks and others- which they tend to feel are eating away into their businesses.
My personal view on this sentiment is that the pandemic is not a situation that any of us could foresee. While I empathise with the pains of the optical community, we must be patient and work towards making the most of the opportunities that are available. With regards to seeing online businesses as a threat, I share a different opinion. I think that this approach towards online businesses is in a way self defeating which is clearly not good.
In most businesses, a sudden change has always been a possibility which can give a jolt to the existing style or way of work. History is flooded with examples of businesses that have stood the test of time, not accepted defeat. My advice to the optician community is that stay firm, believe in your business and adapt, you will emerge stronger.
What helps and what is to be believed fundamentally is that any existing business practice can be turned at any time into a platform for furthering the action for a better foot-hold. The need in such cases is to counter this by introspection and belief in the strength of the self. And then, prepare to welcome changes in certain existing areas of business to suit the times and the conditions. It is also necessary to purge some of the older thoughts to pave way for newer ones.
Here it’s necessary to understand the customer base of the store from the geographical point of view. All stores are established by selecting a location and the locality where the store is situated. Taking advantage of the cultural behavior of the people living in the area, their lifestyle, the spending power of the customers etc. has to be explored to its maximum potential. This needs stores to believe in the power of advertising and promote their store, their product line and their services to let the prospective customers know what awaits them in their store and why a visit or an online enquiry is for their advantage. Adding local online store to their existing store is a big idea here for which the advanced technology provides immense possibilities. I would call this as independent optical stores going Phygital - Physical as well as Digital.
FourPlus Media has just started its wing ‘Go-Phygital’ to provide this service to opticians if required with an affordable fees.
The second thought is, in the current situation, there is an option for the optical industry to position, project and practice optical business in a broader perspective than just being a provider of vision aid products as it used to be. Optical stores should try to attract more customers than what they do at the moment. Not just patients with vision problems who come to seek their advice and purchase eye wear but much beyond.
Let’s look at one option in this direction.
If clothing is not just meant to cover the body but used more a fashion wear, hair is not just cropped but styled in a saloon and beauty parlour is not just for skin care but to glamorise the body and look good, why not portray the optical store as a platform for eye styling? Why not use eyewear is enhancing the fashion quotient of the eyes? Why not showcase eyewear as eye clothing for all instead of just eyeglasses for vision correction? An out of the box thought which I would sincerely wish the optical business community sees as an opportunity to explore in this line is to attract and serve more customers than just those who need para medical service.
The other area that can bring more power to the business of a store is to make it easy for customers to buy eyewear.
FourPlus Media with VisionPlus magazine, You&Eye Awards, VisionPlus Academy and now FourPlus Digital PR and FourPlus GoPhygital is here to help you achieve success by providing avenues to help your optical business grow to its real potential!!