Eye exams were up over 5% in 2009 vs. 2008, according to The Vision Council. While that’s the good news, the not-so-good news was that the sale of frames was off 1.5% and lenses were off 3.7% across the broad retail sector. Now that the public’s buying habits have turned towards receiving more value for their eyewear dollar, it’s the savvy eyecare professional who recognizes the trend and capitalizes on it.

One product that provides a good deal of value for the price is photochromics. That’s because photochromics provide glare protection and visual comfort as lighting conditions change. Some photochromics are specially made as replacements for general use glasses while others are designed as adaptive sunwear products. Some even have polarization added.

Nationwide, photochromic sales are only about 18% of total lens sales. If this sounds like your office, let’s see what profit is waiting to be made by increasing your photochromic sales.

As can be seen by the hypothetical figures in Table 1, a small optical office has a potential to increase profit by $210 weekly, just by increasing photochromic sales from a mere 20% to 33%. Larger offices might see a potential of $390 per week by increasing sales. What is the potential profit when photochromic sales jump from 20% to 50% of eyewear sales? Table 2 tells the story.

It’s startling to see how much of an impact selling more photochromic lenses can have when you look at the annual picture. Table 3 illustrates that an increase from a current 20% photochromic sales to 33% yields an annual difference in profit of $10,920 for offices that sell on average 50 pairs per week, and an impressive increase of $20,280 for offices that typically sell 100 pair of eyewear in a week.
Want to really have fun with photochromic sales? Take their sales from 20% to 50% and Table 4 indicates you’ll see an extra annual profit of $23,400 for smaller offices or $46,800 for larger offices.

With all the added value these lenses provide, it shouldn’t be difficult to ramp up your photochromic lens sales.

Debra R. White is a former opticianry professor. She is currently an optical consultant, lecturer, and writer.


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