Is-Your-Crystal-BallSo why all this about shoes?  It’s clear to this observer that what we have observed in the shoe business is repeating itself in our industry.

Today, the national average for a pair of eyewear hovers just around $200 (for the clients of Cleinman Performance Partners, this number is 2x).  The average consumer owns fewer than 2 pair.  With increased consumer awareness, expanded product offerings and a plethora of purchasing options, it’s not hard to predict that the average price of a pair of eyewear has likely reached its peak and we’ll experience a long-term downward trend.  Is this bad?

shoe-chart-002You see it every day.  The major eyewear retailers blast the consumer (your patients) with BOGO offers and other egregious marketing insults.  One would think that our industry would wake up and, at the very least, begin promoting the many outstanding technologies our industry makes available to improve the human experience.   Instead, all we seem to be able to do is promote on price.  Don’t fall into that trap.  Take a lesson from the shoe industry; we all have different shoes for different needs.

In the simplest of terms, as with shoes and other products, the key to our industry’s success will be in our ability to increase “share of wallet.”   As the chart above indicates, while the average price of a pair of shoes has reduced dramatically over the years, the average consumer’s overall investment in shoes has increased exponentially.  The same will occur with eyewear.  Certainly, if I’m any example, I own about 40 pair of shoes with a value of about $5000 and 20 pair of eyewear with a value of about $10,000.  Roll the clock back 50 years and I owned two pair of shoes and one pair of eyewear (supplied by Medicaid).

This trend spells opportunity.  Over the next decade, I predict that the average realized price for a pair of eyewear will be drift downward while the average consumer will more than double their overall eyewear investment.

Where’s your eyewear focus?  Is it on Average Sale Price (ASP)?  Or should you be thinking more in terms of Lifetime Value of Patient?  Or Realized Annual Margin per Patient?  What strategies are you going to employ to grow this aspect of your practice? What research do you have to undertake?  What training do you and your team need?

For insight into the future of eyewear sales, look in your closet.