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by Orly Sigal

“Eye care practitioners sell frames to only 64% of the patients who have their eyes examined due to ineffective merchandising. If practitioners sold frames to 100% of those patients, revenue would increase. The revenue increase for an average practice grossing $750K annually would be $160K.”**

The customer experience is evolving rapidly.  Research shows store environments remain the best opportunity to inspire customers to spend more money than planned, however 84% of customers have difficulty finding what they need and 20% indicate leaving without fulfilling their entire purchase.*

*AtKearney / **Forbes

** *VisionWatch 2012


The dispensary is an extension of an optometric practice that unlocks the retail opportunity. The retail space must be designed to attract and capture patients’ attention, engage them on an emotional level, and create a unique shopping experience. The Art of Retailing begins with five touch points to create the ideal experience to transition the patient to a consumer.  

  1. Store Design
  2. Curated Assortment
  3. Story Telling
  4. Knowledgeable staff
  5. Digital




The first touch point, store design, is used to create an ideal retail environment that combines a functional, original and unique design.  When designing a retail space or dispensary it’s important to find the correct balance among the store personality and the personality of the brands carried.  It is important to arrange your fixtures to have ease of access and be well-organized.

An expressive eye catching environment is one that takes the consumer on a multisensory adventure. The store design should take the patient on a journey in search of inspiration. A journey map lays out your consumer experience from their eyes and helps to create the store framework.


A store window is literally a “window into a new world.” It’s where the first visual contact takes place and shows what inside. Dramatic lighting, strong graphic elements, color and sound are essential in the windows and storefront.

Clean product presentation at the perimeter walls encourages the consumer to explore options so they can easily find their style and pick the frames that are right for them.

The center area features a style bar that engages the consumer in discovering new collections and styles. Revolving fixtures, graphics, visuals and product keep the store fresh.


Upon final selection of the perfect glasses, the consumer purchase is celebrated at the reception desk.

The second touch point, product selection, means assortment needs to be relevant and fresh through curated displays that take the guesswork out of shopping.  Carrying brands your patients love is key to success.  Your assortment should reflect what your customer needs and expects (based on gender, geography, spend, etc.) In order to make sure you are carrying brands your patients love, implement a system to track trends and measure success.  Make sure to find the right balance between optical and sun.  Keep in mind the 5 R’s: Right product, right quantity, right price, right place and right moment


The third touch point, storytelling, represents brand and product presentation. Tell a story that engages the consumer visually and is relevant to the product it is supporting. Storytelling is conveyed through display of brands, display of assortment, visual merchandising, and knowledgeable staff.  The brands that win are the brands that tell a great story.


In the dispensary, it is important to display product by brand. Brands drive traffic and generate interest and awareness.  Strong brands grow 3-4x faster than the average, therefore are more profitable for the dispensary.  Patients make most buying decisions based on comfort of what they know— if they know the brand, they are more likely to purchase.


It is imperative to have the right visual merchandising materials.  Point of sale materials turn a simple act of buying a frame into a memorable brand experience. It is important to use branded materials to display collections from the same brand.  The POS material should be clean and updated to the relevant image of the brand.  Less is more.



The fourth step of the ultimate consumer experience is knowledgeable staff. Knowledgeable staff is instrumental for a successful business. Your staff should be able to educate the consumers on brand and product. Key features to know about product are the history of brand and product, how to use the product, styles, color or models available, and pricing.  They should be well-informed on any special manufacturing process, servicing, warranty and repair information.  A successful associate should also be as knowledgeable on eye care as they are on eyewear. 




The last step in creating the ideal consumer experience is the Digital age which is the new language of the patient experience. There are three possible approaches to digital.  The first simple approach is video. Showing branded videos or extra content from special product collections to tell the product story in a new and different way. An Intermediate approach is the “Endless Aisle”. Give consumers the ability to order from your store’s website within the brick-and-mortar environment. A more complex approach is interactive and augmented technology. Take the extra step and use a new digital tool to interact with the product in a fun way that entices the patient to play. If the technology is not making something easier or fulfilling a specific need, it’s probably not necessary

Transforming the patient to consumer depends on you.  It involves superior medical care to drive loyalty, offering quality products that are consistent with the quality care you are providing, brands that resonate with consumers and a shopping experience that engages and excites. The five touch points are key to creating the evolution of patient to consumer.

Contact your local Luxottica district sales manager for more information on the Art of Retailing.