It’s no secret that online businesses are thriving in today’s technology dependant lifestyle. People want convenience so why bother trekking out to a store when you can buy anything you want with a press of a button? The growing industry of online retailers is a potential threat to brick-and-mortar businesses that rely on customer traffic to sell their inventory. The same can be true for the optical industry.
Today, patients looking for eyewear can easily go online and find stores ready to sell them lenses and frames all without having to leave the comfort of their house. However, there are still ways to attract customers in-store without going digital. Follow our six easy steps to increase foot-traffic in your clinic and avoid losing your customers to online retailers.
1. EMPHASIZE SPEED AND CONVENIENCE
A big reason to opt for online stores against in-store services is for its speed and convenience. Most people even order food online to avoid traffic or leaving the house, so why not pick out the perfect pair of frames online and have it delivered to you?
In order to attract customers to come to your store, it’s best to offer them the speed and convenience that is traditionally associated with online shopping. When selling speed and convenience through a brick-and-mortar store, Deborah Sweeney, CEO at MyCorporation.com, advises to market your services to those who are in your neighborhood. Make yourself visible to locals and attract them to your store by offering the convenience they look for online. Staying organized with appointments is an easy way to avoid having customers wait too long for their check-up and ensuring they are satisfied with the quick and easy service provided by your staff.
It is also important to ensure your clinic’s online Google listing is up-to-date and accurate. Your clinic’s Google listing is the information potential customers will see when they type your clinic’s name into Google. It has your address, opening hours, contact information and any other relevant information required to reach your clinic. Modern consumers start their shopping experience on search engines and listing sites, which makes them crucial for driving business to your clinic. In fact, 50% of local searches lead to a store visit within a day so it’s important to stay on top of your clinic’s Google listing. Remember to update the opening hours for holidays and always make sure to have the correct number for people to reach the office. Any error in your business information across the internet reduces your chances of showing up when potential customers search online. According to a study conducted by the Local Search Association, about $10.2 billion worth of potential annual sales are lost because of wrong, missing, or incomplete local business information. To make it convenient for people, it’s very simple to keep your information updated in order to attract more customers to your clinic!
2. USE SOCIAL MEDIA TO YOUR ADVANTAGE
A great way to give yourself an online presence without setting up an online store is by making yourself visible on social media platforms. Social media is a great tool for your business with a lot of potential to advertise and grow it. It can help connect you with your existing patients, attract new customers, keep them updated on news about your clinic and services, and it can be a way of communicating with your followers.
If building your own online store is not an option, then social media should be considered as the next best thing, and best of all, it’s 100% free! It’s also really simple to use once you get the hang of it.
In order to reap all of its benefits, you must decide what social media platforms are best suited for your business. The three main options are: Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Some businesses may opt to use all three but to avoid getting overwhelmed, it’s easier to pick one and stick with it. All three platforms are great for posting news and updates about your business with optimal chances to interact with your followers. For the optical industry, the go-to platforms are usually Facebook and Instagram. Facebook is great for posting visuals and text and gives you the opportunity to interact with your followers. Instagram on the other hand is used mainly for the visuals but text can be incorporated in your captions.
Find out which platform is easiest for your business and get a sense of what your patients use. Put up a sign at your store to encourage customers to follow your social media in order to stay up-to-date with news and special announcements. Try holding a small contest on your social media to encourage your patients to follow you and offer a prize to one of your followers such as a free check-up or 25% off their next pair of lenses.
Another great way to optimize sales with social media is by selling products through Facebook and Instagram. It can be a good way to not only attract customers to your social media platforms but it’s an easy and free alternative to setting up an online store. If patients keep asking you to provide them with an easier way to buy frames, invite them to visit your clinic’s social media platforms and tell them they can get product information there as well as buy some of your products. It won’t be necessary to put all your merchandise for sale on social media, but you can start off with your best-selling items or some basic models for your followers to browse through.
QUICK TIPS: 5 Simple Steps to Increase Foot-Traffic Using Social Media.
- Promote deals on Instagram and Facebook
- Offer exclusive in-store deals for existing and new followers
- Start a social media raffle for a pair of frames
- Promote new merchandise on your feed
- Offer special discounts for patients who follow you
3. BECOME A SPECIALIST
In order to attract more customers to your store, it is important to make them feel confident on your ability to help guide their shopping experience. In order for customers to give you their business, you have to show them you’re knowledgeable in your field. Train your staff to know the merchandise inside and out so they are able to offer the best service by properly showcasing your products while being informative.
Besides looking for info online, customers also look to sales associates for their shopping needs because people want expert advice on what to buy. If patients are going to spend money at your clinic, they want to know everything they need to know before spending their money. In order to attract more customers, become a specialist on your products and services and ensure them they are making the right decision by coming to you!
4. SHOW, DON’T TELL
One of the greatest advantages of an in-store experience is being able to see products. For the eyewear industry, it gives your customers a chance to see the frames and try them on, which gives you a big advantage for persuading sales.
An easy way to attract customers with in-store visual merchandising is by showing off your most popular items and placing them at a focal point in your clinic. It’s also important to display a variety of items that are relevant to all types of customers. If possible, always try to switch up your visual merchandising to keep things interesting for returning customers. If your store front has a window, use it to your advantage by advertising promotions, collaborations with brands or keeping it simple by letting potential customers know what to expect if they step into the store.
Another advantage for brick-and-mortar stores is the ability to showcase samples. Put out an array of lens types or materials to give your customers a hands-on experience. Make sure the area is well lit so they can properly see the textures, colors and patterns – something that can be difficult for them to do online.
5. OFFER ON-SITE SERVICES
As a practice, you want to offer customers on-site services that will bring them to your store, something that cannot be offered online. For practices, an easy way to drive customers to your clinic is to offer lens cleaning, repairs or adjustments. This is something that can only be done in-store making it a great opportunity to increase foot traffic. You can also offer 15-minute appointments for patients to have a one-on-one consultation with an O.D. to discuss any vision related questions or concerns they may have. Another option is to have a personal stylist at your clinic, a staff member who is trained to find the perfect pair of frames for your customers. These personal touches are not only helpful to customers, but it can also increase sales.
6. INSTANT GRATIFICATION
Over the years, online shopping has seen many advancements. With big online giants such as Amazon, it has become easy for people to purchase anything they need from around the world. However, one thing that they can’t offer is that feeling of instant gratification or buying something and walking away with it immediately. Buying something online means you usually have to wait a day or sometimes a week to receive your item. Shopping is an experience and as a practice, it’s important to play your part in that experience. From the moment the customer enters, it is your job to ensure their satisfaction. It is the only way they will come back again or spread the word about their positive experience.
With summer in the air, people are more likely now to leave their homes. Take advantage of the weather and keep your store well stocked and ready for summer sales!