PREMIUM READERS HELP YOU BATTLE THE DRUGSTORE

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Corinne McCormack’s Wild Flowers collection gives bold wearers a colorful set of options.
Soft Kitty, from eyebobs, is just one of the company’s many catchy names for its readers that combine fun and fashion.
Vintage and contemporary come face to face in several of eyeOs’ designs, including Sebastian, a combination square style.
Scojo’s Reade Street reader from the Tribeca collection combines high-quality Italian acetate and metal.

Capitalize on the strong market for premium readers by carrying stylish, quality options for your patients.

According to The Vision Council, the over-the-counter (OTC) reader business is booming. Its research shows that nearly 50 million pairs of OTC readers were sold in 2013, however, only 3.1 million by optical stores. So how can ECPs better embrace this trend and get in on the growing and profitable market?

The first strategy is to convince yourself and your fellow ECPs that adding premium readers to your store is a good business strategy. Consumers are buying low-quality readers by the bagful from big-box stores and drugstores, so why not offer a high-quality alternative that includes patient education and even an adjustment or two?

Instead of waving patients out the door to find their readers elsewhere, you can meet all of their eyewear needs right in one spot. If the patient needs to eventually change to progressives or other prescription eyewear, you have that repeat business for years to come. Worried about high astigmats? You can suggest alternatives to OTC readers if the patient has a high astigmatism or a different prescription in each eye that would make OTC readers less useful. And certainly if you fit and sell contact lenses, it makes good sense to have quality readers available for those patients as well.

QUALITY
A good place to look for premium readers is the Private Eyes collection from Eschenbach Optik of America, Inc. The line’s six unisex frame styles all come in powers ranging from +1.00D to +2.50D, with some styles going up to +4.00D. The lenses are made with resilient polycarbonate with an anti-scratch and AR treatment. Each pair has UV protection as well. Educating patients about the difference between quality readers and those sold in discount stores is a good service you can offer. Eschenbach will include a free Private Eyes tabletop display with a qualifying purchase.

FASHION
Another marketing strategy is to focus on design. High-end readers are not only functional but make a fashion statement and look professional as well. Does a businessperson want to be in an important meeting and pull out cheap readers that are out of adjustment and might risk a screw falling out? A quality product can optimize vision and appearance.

California Accessories brings together fashion and function in its Eyes Have It readers collection. The Dancer Eyes women’s frame features decorative rhinestones on the front of a half-shaped cat-eye frame. These readers come in three fun and flirty colors, and include a matching case. Inner Circle, part of the CalOptix reader line, is a metal frame that has oval cut-out temples with embellished with a stone. To add to its individuality, the frame does not wrap completely around the lens. The intricate cut-out makes this reader a true standout from the rest and its spring hinges ensure a good, comfortable fit. Not to leave the men out of the fashion show, Author Eyes promises a geek-chic look with a classic chunky frame and includes a matching case. Metropol-Eyes wire frame readers have clean lines with rectangular lenses, a good look on almost any face shape, with a matching case and AR treatment.

Going for something quirky? The stylish and sometimes sarcastic frames from eyebobs are sure to catch the attention of irreverent consumers. eyebobs come in a wide range of colors and catchy styles for both women and men, and with names like Adult Supervision, Soft Kitty, Total Wit, and Catcher in the Eye, they know how to combine fun with fashion at a reasonable price point.

Scojo New York is well known for its stylish assortment of reading glasses. Its collections include Tribeca, which reflects hip and witty style while using only high-quality Italian acetate and metal. The Gels collection is handmade from TR-90 surgical plastic, boasting to be among the lightest readers in the world with great flexibility and fun colors. Scojo New York bifocal sunglass readers are both sporty and contemporary with styles for women and men.

Retro-inspired eyeOs Eyewear come in a surprising array of shapes and frame colors. These quality readers boast frames made from Mazzucchelli acetate. The Rxable Hex-O-Tech™ lenses come in single vision aspheric and bifocal photochromic options and offer AR and scratch-resistant treatments. Interesting trivia: the O in the name eyeOs is the company’s bow to the circle, the universal symbol of perfection. With acetates and combination frames in the initial launch, wearers have 12 styles from which to choose, each offered in two colorways. Vintage and contemporary come face to face in several of the designs, including Sebastian, a combination square style.

BUNDLING
Since premium readers are functional and fashionable, why not bundle them with some coordinated jewelry like chains or pins? The eyewear package will make a nice fashion statement for the purchaser or for a gift and can pull a whole look together. The ECP can easily match frames to accessories and display them together. Of course, another benefit of eyewear necklaces and pins is solving the age-old problem of “œWhere did I put my readers?” An additional bundling option is to group a pair of readers with a cleaning cloth or cleaning solution to keep those stylish readers looking their best.

Corinne McCormack offers a line of eyewear and accessories that is always distinctive and super chic. Its Wheat and Barley line has fans of earth tones covered, while the Wild Flowers collection of readers packs a vibrant punch when it comes to color. Meanwhile, accessorizing readers with Corinne McCormack eyerings brings its own set of plusses. The Starkitecture Eye-ring has a diamond-shaped ring with black and colored beads on the 18-in. chain, even fashionable enough to be worn alone. The simple-yet-elegant teardrop eyering touts a teardrop-shaped ring with a silver link 29-in. chain. The Corinne McCormack optic necklaces are also beautiful eyewear accessories. The Russian Diamond Bead chain has diamond-shaped, faceted plastic beads along the 29-in. string and the subtle Slinky Silver chain is a thin, stretchy silver chain.

SPECIAL PURPOSE
Targeting your reader sales for special-purpose use makes good business sense. Remember your contact lens patients by promoting readers near contact lens solutions and cases. Also, don’t forget to promote sun readers for late-winter and spring getaways, and of course for summer days spent at the beach or pool.

The OTC reader market continues to grow. Offering premium readers along with professional advice is a great service to your patients. With the aging population and economic uncertainty, it is a good strategy to help patients find solutions to all their eyewear needs.

PATTERNS GALORE The McGee Group recently introduced four styles in its relaunch of the Vera Bradley Reader collection that give new meaning to color. Jackie features Flower Shower, Flutterby, and Venetian Paisley patterns on the interior and exterior front and temples as well as a feminine rectangle eyeshape and sculpted temples. The retro Annette has a fashion-forward circular eyeshape with pin detailing. Monica, which the company describes as a “œclassic style with a Vera Bradley twist,” boasts a soft rectangle eyeshape and curved endpiece. Finally, Phyllis is a bold and modern frame, with a rectangular eyeshape and thick temples. All readers come with a coordinating slip case, and they are available in three powers (+1.50D, +2.00D, and +2.50D) and feature injected plastic and spring hinges. -Michele Silver

Kim Pickett is a certified ophthalmic medical technologist and writer in Minneapolis, MN.

WHERE TO FIND IT:
Eschenbach Optik of America, Inc.
800-487-5389
eschenbach.com
California Accessories
800-523-5567
calaccessories.com
Corinne McCormack
212-868-7919
corinnemccormack.com
eyebobs
888-393-2627
eyebobs.com
eyeOs Eyewear
800-625-1880
eyeoseyewear.com
The McGee Group
800-966-2020
mcgeegroup.com
Scojo New York
800-817-4318
scojo.com
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