I recently asked this question to one of ClearVision’s resident business “experts,” who gave me a little insight on the subject. Ideally, the “mix” is determined by three things:
- Your patients (the demographics of your practice). Some specifics include the average age of your patients; the ethnic mix of your area; the number of families and kids that visit your practice, etc.
- The aesthetics of your practice (in other words, what you want your practice to be, e.g. high end and “chic,” or “traditional,” with a homey comfortable appeal). Or, is it all about the price of the collections you’re offering?
- The image you are creating for your practice (for example, do you want to be seen as exclusive, unique, family friendly, value oriented, etc.)
But do these factors always come into play in the “real world?”
In many cases, the frame buyer determines the mix for the dispensary, but whether or not this is the best strategy is another story. Often, frame selections are made based on personal likes, as opposed to what may be most appealing to patients.
Most practices assign purchasing to one individual. Sometimes, this person buys what he or she personally likes, rather than what the demographics of the practice require. Or, they may allocate space to specific vendors, creating a “board management” system. Board management is a good concept and can ultimately help determine which frames really work within a practice. However, in order for board management to be effective, it should be paired with a reorder system to replace frames as they sell, and maintain best sellers on the board.
When you have clearly established your frame mix based on the needs of your patients, as well as the image you wish to present, you can avoid purchasing products that are not right for your dispensary. Keeping the right product mix will enhance the overall appeal of your practice and increase your sell through!
Do you know your “capture rate”?
- Are people walking out of your dispensary with their prescriptions?
This means they are going elsewhere to purchase their frames. Why? It is the price? Variety? If you find this is happening often, you need to take a closer look at your patients and determine if you have positioned yourself correctly for your audience, in terms of the brands and price points you offer.
- Are you tracking your inventory to see what sells?
Often, practices do not have a re-order procedure in place to help them appropriately determine best sellers or slow-moving frames. This not only can hinder efficient tracking of popular styles, but it can also make your frame board inefficient and non-productive.
- Are you engaging your customers to discuss their wants and needs?
A good snapshot of your patient base is critical. Is it necessary to have a variety of price points and higher to lower quality products? Are brands important to your customers, and if so, which ones?
Perhaps it’s time to ask yourself the “ideal” questions and get back to basics. Once you have a clear picture of your customer demographic, establish (or reestablish) the aesthetics and perception of your practice. Often, a good frame vendor can help shed some insight as to what the right mix is for your dispensary.
Who decides the best mix for your practice?