Merchandising an eyewear brand that comprises three separate categories can require a bit of ingenuity to create awareness. For those retailing Wiley X’s entire family of products (YouthForce, WorkSight and Sun Protection) displaying and successfully selling these specialized product lines depends upon old-fashioned conversation mixed with creative incentives and fun displays.
Based in Livermore, CA, Wiley X began developing and marketing protective eyewear (and gloves) for military, law enforcement and civilians in 1987. Since then, the company’s focus on maintaining not only safety standards but also style and quality has evolved to create eyewear for the entire family.
Zachary Ford, OD, a manager at Coffman Optical in New Philadelphia, OH, doesn’t always present Wiley X products together. While he’s always sure to keep Wiley X display cases fully stocked with product in a high-traffic area, Ford said he ensures patients discover the brand by interspersing Wiley X products with other brands.
“The best part of Wiley X is that you’re not only purchasing attractive eyewear, but you’re also investing in the safest protection for your vision,” Ford said. “Every model is multi-functional, making them a versatile necessity in our store.”
All Wiley X products are Rxable and the company’s DIGIFORCE digital Rx lenses are specifically designed for its high-wrap frames, which include sun protection for men and women; the YouthForce line of sport protective eyewear that meets ASTM F803 sports safety standards and is designed for all-day wear; and WorkSight, ophthalmic frames with removable side shields that take a wearer from day to night.
Placing brochures on dispensing tables and using social media are other effective tools for Coffman Optical, which has carried Wiley X since 2010. The store regularly keeps clients updated on Wiley X products via social media and also plans to hold a future promotion on Facebook for patients who purchased a Wiley X product from them: post a photo wearing Wiley X eyewear and enter to win Wiley X apparel, frames or a gift certificate.
Coffman Optical also offers 20% discounts on second pairs of Wiley X frames, but Ford said simply asking if a patient has heard of Wiley X opens the door “for us to explain why this brand is unique in our industry.”
For Kitty Amos, a buyer for Evansville, IN-based Eyemart, understanding a patient’s lifestyle is the key to selling the right eyewear. With stores located in small towns along the Ohio River, Amos said Eyemart’s clientele enjoy outdoor activities such as hunting, fishing and biking as well as organized sports.
By reviewing patients’ hobbies and activities based on answers from Eyemart’s patient information sheet, Amos said they can recommend a second pair to suit their needs. By having safety accounts with local industrial businesses, EyeMart is able to offer discount pricing on WorkSight frames.
“Wiley X sunglasses are available in a variety of styles and sizes, so they can fit anyone and any activity,” she said.
“The ability to interchange the temples with the strap on the YouthForce makes it a great choice for kids, and although WorkSight are intended for safety protection, they can be worn as an everyday pair as well.”
At VisionPoint, a chain of seven stores in northwest Indiana with its headquarters in Valparaiso, owner Paulette Krstevski puts her own creative spin on visual merchandising: think caution tape and hard hats for WorkSight and fun, bright colors and imagery for YouthForce. Plenty of inventory is also key, said. “You have to have enough selection so patients can see a variety of Wiley X products,” Krstevski said. “All have different functions, so when you find out what a customer needs, you can find what will work. ”
VisionPoint started success-fully selling Wiley X sun protection five years ago and then added WorkSight when it was launched. WorkSight has since become an integral part of the optical chain’s safety glass program. “There’s a market for them here, and they’re nice-looking plastics that hold up and are reasonably priced,” she said. “We want dependable products at good prices, and Wiley X [represents]good quality and value.”
Cara Aidone Huzinec is assistant editor at VCPN.