Do you have a plan on how to bring more customers into your practice this holiday season? A well thought-out plan is critical for business this time of year. Dive into what it takes with 6 actionable, detailed initiatives you can take this holiday season to prepare your employees, your store, and communicate to your customers.
Remind customers of unused benefits
End-of-year responsibilities, like maximizing insurance benefits before the year end deadline often get overshadowed and forgotten with fun and holiday parties top of mind. Many customers often realize they’ve missed using their benefits only after it’s too late. So it’s a great time to remind your customers that unused insurance benefits need to be depleted before the New Year, and that provides a great opportunity for you to reach out and draw customers in to maximize a benefit they already have. Your customers will see this reminder as a friendly, helpful message and most likely be grateful for your efforts.
How to Implement: Task your team to check in with customers about their need for an eye exam or new frames. When checking in with your customers, remind them that insurance benefits run out by the end of the year and of the ways they can take advantage of their insurance benefits before it’s too late.
Make a plan with your staff on ways they can get this information to customers. Consider in your plan a few of the most common, effective channels of communication:
- A newsletter
- A SMS text message blast
- Calls directly to customers (if time permits, of course)
- Message on website
- Banner outside of your store
- Social media posts
Organize frame donations
According to the World Health Organization, at least 2.2 billion people throughout the world have some form of vision impairment; many of whom do not have access to much-needed vision care. This holiday season invite your customers to join in the season of giving by donating old frames to those in need via an organization of your choice. Remind your customers that their used frames will be provided to people in need who can’t afford or don’t have access to decent and reliable eyewear.
How to Implement: Get the word out! Helpful communication channels are listed above for good ideas on how to reach customers with your message. Focus on crafting a smart message. Highlight the donation organization and some overall feel-good facts as to how the frames will be used.
Consider tying your other initiatives into your communication about the donation, such as reminders of end-of-year benefit usage and booking an eye exam. Remember that it's important to be clear with your customers in the steps they should take to donate:
- How to drop-off (ideally directly at your optical shop)
- Avoid donating broken glasses
- Pack donations securely to avoid damage
- Take advantage of the “face to face” point of contact when they drop-off frames and physically give a nice “Thank You” note to the customer, thanking them for their generous donation and reminding them of eye exams, end of year benefits, etc.
Additionally, as a business, you need to decide which organization you would like to work with. Start by looking at which organizations are in your area. If you can’t find an organization in your area that fits, then look for more options beyond your local region. Just be sure the organization you choose allows for mail-in donations. Some organizations that take eyeglass donations include:
- Lions Club International
- Eyes of Hope
- New Eyes
- Optometry Cares
- SEE International
- The Lighthouse
Offer specials on your services
Because the holiday season is already a busy time of year for business, we don’t suggest offering a discount/sale on the purchase of frames. Instead, try offering a special that focuses on the offer of your services to new customers (ie. a yearly eye exam, Glaucoma screening, lens evaluation, etc). With one in three Americans skipping a visit to the eye doctor due to cost, according to Versant Health’s Vision Wellness Study, this service-focused offer may entice new customers to give your practice a try, which is just the opportunity that you need to dazzle them with your service, follow-up, and overall quality of care. It’s a great “foot in the door” and much better than focusing on discounts alone to start creating a long-term relationship with a customer.
How to Implement:
If you decide to run a holiday special, ensure you are marketing the information properly so customers know about the upcoming offer. You can do this by:
- Adding a headline to your company website
- Advertising about the special in the paper or newsletter
- Posting information on your social media channels with the details of the offer explained in the post
- Include this offer in an email blast
- Place offer collateral (handouts) at local community establishments
Spruce your practice up for the holidays, within moderation
The holidays are a great time to update your shop displays to keep things fresh and feeling relevant to the season. But beware - although incorporating holiday decor feels festive, it’s important to keep your store looking neat and presentable to not take too much attention from the product lines you carry. While you may hear lots of holiday music coming from other stores, research shows that shoppers buy more holiday-related goods when Christmas music is playing, so holiday music does not need to be a priority for your business.
How to Implement:
- Skip playing holiday music in your shop. Give your customers a break from the constant music they hear everywhere else.
- Place seasonal decor strategically so that the focus remains on your inventory selection (keep it from going over the top).
- Consider combining seasonal decor with season specials or reminders you want to spread the word about, such as end of year benefit reminders, donation initiatives, etc. This way you maintain a balance between incorporating seasonal vibes while maintaining a value-add message that is focused on your services and offers.
Educate on your Eyewear brands
Remind your customers why you are selling the brands that are displayed in your eyewear practice. Focus on the most important aspects of your brands such as: durability, reliability, design, and origin. Be sure to let your customers know that the eyewear brands you’re selling can be made to fit their shape perfectly, not the other way around. Invite them in for a free fitting before purchasing if they’re unsure about the style they want. Let your customers know that your eyewear practice is there to meet their needs in every way possible!
How to Implement:
- Create or utilize educational handouts on each brand to give customers a way to learn more.
- Create a monthly blog to feature your brands and highlight your product offering each month.
- Occasionally send out educational emails to customers who have previously shown interest in a brand, such as through a past purchase, and highlight what makes their products stand out amongst others.
Host holiday events
Another great initiative to attract more customers during the holidays is by hosting an event. Events are opportunities to showcase what luxury eyewear your customers can expect in 2023 and why your inventory is the best in terms of materials, design, comfort, engineering, and craftsmanship.
Additionally, you can use these events as a time to highlight your company values and instill a sense of community by promoting a charity to give a portion of your proceeds to. Last, offer the option to purchase gift cards and encourage your customers to give the gift of eye care to family and friends.
How to Implement:
Here are some of our favorite event ideas your business can incorporate this upcoming season:
- Holiday Trunk Show: Invite your customers to attend an exclusive luxury eyewear trunk show. With unique, independent eyewear brands such as Blackfin, L.G.R, or LOOK highlighting the event - this will definitely catch the attention of buyers. ;)
- Sip and See: Populate your store with customers by inviting them to a “Sip & See” event. This will give people a chance to come into your eyewear practice and physically try on items in your inventory with a festive, social vibe. Allow customers to place in-store orders. Offer wine and spirits that your guests can “sip” on while they “see” the eyewear on display. Host the event after usual office hours - to give people a chance to come by after work. Skip appointments or RSVPs - invite customers to walk right in!
If you choose to host a holiday event, here are some additional tips to keep in mind while preparing:
- Send out invitations to clientele at least four weeks prior to the event
- Blast the holiday event out to email subscribers
- Provide refreshments at each event
- Make it fun: Offer swag bags and giveaways!
Now is the time to get planning and take your business to the next level during the holiday season! Need a strategic business partner that looks out for your business? Get in contact with us today to learn more about how Villa Eyewear can help you elevate your practice.