GOING PRO WITH ANTI-REFLECTIVE

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Although to some, anti-reflective (AR) lenses may be just an added expense, or even viewed as a possible gimmick in order to upsell a customer, it can actually allow patients better use of their lenses. While patients may still see AR as an added cost that they don’t feel the need to spend on, how can eyecare professionals grow their AR sales and encourage their ­patients to add AR?

Why are some ECPs more effective than others at fitting their patients with AR lenses? There seem to be a few similarities among ECPs with high percentages of AR sales. These techniques ­include education and demonstration as well as wearing the product yourself.

EDUCATION
One of the key ways of growing your AR sales is through education. Chris Beyer of Rosenblatt Eyecare in Raritan, NJ, explained how education can boost your AR sales: “The key to growing your AR sales is to plant the seed with the patient as soon as they get into the exam chair. It is the doctor’s job to plant the AR seed and briefly mention the benefits of AR and how it can enhance their vision by decreasing the glare of lights when driving, reducing eyestrain and much more. Once the exam is complete and the ­patient moves onto frame selection, I make sure to reiterate what the doctor mentioned about AR in the exam room, the benefits of AR coating and how it can enhance their ­vision. Lastly, I make sure to mention the scratch warranty. That usually gets them.”

This means not only educating your patients but also making sure that your staff is fully informed and well versed on the positive ­ ­effects of AR for your patients’ lenses and ultimately their vision.

Point-of-purchase materials are a great way for your patients to be able to see what AR can do for them. Your optical lab and manufacturer website can supply you with all the point-of-purchase materials you need to grow your AR sales. Among the companies ­offering promotional materials you can use to improve your AR sales are Carl Zeiss ­Vision, Inc., Essilor of America, Inc., Seiko Optical Products of America, Inc., Shamir Insight, Inc., Signet Armorlite, Inc. and VISION EASE, among others.

Ricki Hedenberg from Classic Eyewear in Linwood, NJ, ­offers AR to everyone who sits in the exam chair or checks out frames. “Educating the customer and then offering to improve their ­vision with AR is the strategy that we use,” Hedenberg said. “We do our best to educate the customer ­using point-of-purchase and ­answering all questions they may have. Making sure they understand the importance of AR is something that should be done at every ­appointment. We make sure to get across to the patient that by getting AR on their lenses it is going to better their vision and help out their eyes in the long run.”

AR LENSES AROUND THE WORLD
U.S. AR Sales Have Far to Grow. The statistics regarding anti-­reflective (AR) lens sales in the U.S. compared to other countries is surprising, considering that the U.S. is among the lowest with AR sales at an average of 30%. The highest percentages of AR sales in the world are ­Japan at 100% and Korea at 99%. Canada tops U.S. AR sales at 63% along with Europe with AR sales over 50%. The only country that has a lower percentage of AR sales is Brazil with 27%. The bright side about the fact that the U.S. has such a low percentage of AR sales is that there is so much room to grow.

DEMONSTRATION
The best strategy to reinforce the AR message in conjunction with education is demonstration. As humans, we tend to understand things more clearly when a product is demonstrated to us rather than just explained by words. Showing your patients demo ­lenses, especially comparing a lens with AR to a lens without AR, is a great way to show your patients the power of the product and exactly how it works.

Mike Kennedy, head optician at Berlin Eye Care, in Berlin, NJ, explained how he demonstrates AR on lenses to his patients. “One of the tips I follow is to have samples in finished product to show to clients. When they see how nice it looks they usually do opt for AR.” By showing your patients the finished lenses with AR, you are ­allowing them to see and try out for themselves just exactly what AR can do for them and their lenses.

WEAR IT YOURSELF
One of the strongest strategies to boost your AR sales is to wear the product yourself. A patient cannot deny the power of the product when you yourself are wearing it and reaping the benefits of ­doing so. It is hard for a patient to deny the benefits of AR coating when you are wearing the product yourself. You are able to give your patients an honest opinion about how AR works, and when patients see you wearing it yourself it resonates with the patient that since you’re wearing it then it has to be effective. We tend to live in a “monkey-see, monkey-do” world, and if the person we trust most with our eyes is wearing AR on their lenses, most likely their ­patients will agree that it must be put on their lenses as well.

Growing your AR sales can be achieved using education, demonstration and simply by wearing the product yourself. With these three guidelines, your practice should have no problem bumping up its percentage of AR sales.

Jaimee Palkovicz is marketing coordinator of i-see Optical Lab in Blackwood, NJ.

WHERE TO FIND IT: Carl Zeiss Vision, Inc. 800.358.8258 • Zeiss.com/LensesCustomer.Service@Zeiss.com // Essilor of America, Inc. 800.542.5668 • EssilorUSA.com // HOYA Vision Care, North America 877.528.1939 • HoyaVision.comSalesSupport@HoyaVision.com // Seiko Optical Products of America, Inc. 800.235.5367 • SeikoEyewear.com // Shamir Insight, Inc. 877.514.8330 • ShamirLens.comInfo@ShamirLens.com // Signet Armorlite, Inc. 800.759.0075 • SignetArmorlite.comMarketingLiterature@SignetArmorlite.com // VISION EASE 800.328.3449 • VisionEase.comInfo@VisionEase.com

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