The Power of Touch

The Real Midas Touch

The power of touch is immense and yet often ignored by most owners of optical businesses.  If you sell tangible product such as frames or contact lenses you need to get people to touch them.  Why?  It increases what social psychologists call the “sense of ownership” of whatever item is being touched.  Is this psychological “trick” worth the effort to employ it?  Undoubtedly it is worth doing because we’ve seen clients improve their tangible goods sales number by over a third or more by employing just this approach.

Break the Glass Barriers

Are your frames displayed behind glass?  No matter the reason you chose to use this display technique, you are losing sales because of it.  The most common reasons cited for the glassed displays are:

  • It is a classy, high-end display approach that increases the perceived value of what is behind the glass, or
  • It reduces theft and protects my capital investment in inventory

Think about these two reasons for a few minutes.  I’ll wait for you…go ahead…have you figured out the problem yet?  Of course, you have; all of my blog readers are geniuses!  The obvious incompatibility of these reasons means one of them has to right and one has to be wrong.  There is not a clear cut, always correct answer, but I can safely say that over 90% of the time the right one is that it reduces theft.  Well, maybe.  At the very least it gives the customers the impression that you are attempting to reduce theft.  That means most of the time the perception of the customer is “they must have a lot of frames stolen” and not “these must be high end frames.”

Get your frames out from behind the glass and employ other methods for theft reduction.  You need people to touch and try on frames to be able to sell as many as you can.  Other research shows that you want to get customers to look at themselves in a mirror in addition to touching to further increase their sense of ownership of the product.  That includes contact lenses.  Even though they can’t see the product they can see the benefit of the product – clear vision without glasses.

The Contact Lens Test Drive

Just as it is important to get patients to touch and see themselves in frames, people need to touch, experience, and visualize themselves during the contact lens experience.  The contact lens test drive puts patients in lenses, without a complete fitting, to have a risk free opportunity to experience life in contact lenses.  Whether doing this while in the exam chair or during special days/times in the office, you will see a jump in the number of contact lens wearing patients in the practice.  This approach is especially useful for “specialty” lenses such as multifocal or toric designs.  

“What Do I Do With the Dozen or so AR Displays in My Backroom?

Um…use them.  Get patients to touch them and handle them.  Get them to feel the difference between CR 39 and a high index material.  Get them to see how a sample of Transitions works in the sunlight.  Have them feel the weight difference between lighter lens materials and heavier ones.  This tactile approach is the best method (no, I am not over stating this) for handling objections to lens enhancements and they are frustratingly under used.

Maidir te,
John McDaniel, OD, MLHR


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