The Advantages and Disadvantages of Optometrists Selling Contact Lens Solutions

For quite a long time, vision clinics and offices have had the ability to sell contact lens solution; however, not many offices pursued this revenue-producing line of products. How do you as an optometrist determine whether you should offer contact lens solution for sale in your office? The following guide shows the advantages and disadvantages of offering contact lens solutions for sale in your office.

Trying to compete with large retail stores has always been difficult for smaller businesses. When you consider the space requirements for the storage and display of products, you can quickly decide against offering new products for sale in your vision clinic.

However, several manufacturers have found ways to overcome these objections, including the allowing optometrist offices to order contact lens solution in small quantities.

The next objection an optometrist can have is whether offering products for sale creates undue pressure on the staff. Will the staff members feel obligated to push for sales? Do you want your staff to sell low-profit items or concentrate on those items that will net you higher profits?

Finally, will selling numerous products make your patients think you are greedy? You can overcome these objections by showing the benefits of buying a professional brand contact lens solution and offering prices that are lower than what the patient will find in a big box retailer.

Increase Your Patients’ Perception of Value

One way offices can overcome these objections is by giving contact lens solution away when a patient purchases an annual supply of contact lens or decides to upgrade to the colored contact lens.

The profits on upgrading lens are greater than many of the other products sold in the office. This strategy allows you to provide the contact lens solution for free when the patient purchases an upgrade or an annual supply of contact lenses.

Another way optometrists can sell contact lens solution to their patients without appearing greedy and adding undue sales pressure to their staff members is by offering the solution at a lower price than other retailers. This method generally increases an optometrist office’s profit while offering savings to their patients.

Both of these methods will help improve your patients’ perception of your office and the value of purchasing their contact lens solution at your clinic.

Whether you give contact lens solution away as a part of a promotional package or sell it for a low price, you can show that your clinic is there to fill all of your patients’ Eyecare needs. Both of these methods show that your office is conscientious of your patient’s time and you, therefore, offer a one-stop shop for their eye care needs.

You want to avoid appearing to be selling contact lens solution because you are greedy. How can this be accomplished? You must be purposeful on your marketing. Fist, never charge more than retailers are charging and secondly offer it differently than your competitors. For example, Alcon’s Professional line of contact lens solution comes in larger bottles than is typically found with other brands.

This makes this brand valuable in the patient’s eyes.  Another benefit of offering a larger bottle of contact solution is patients can’t do a side by side comparison to other brands. This means you can charge the same prices as your competitors, thus improving your profits.

Another option is to offer only contact lens solutions available to optometrist offices, such as Sauflon. By showing why this brand is more valuable to the patient than other brands, you can keep your patients coming back. Most patients see a professional brand as more trustworthy than a retail brand.

Finally, you can donate your profits to a charity. Whether you opt to donate it to a national charity or a local one, it can help your patients decide to purchase from you rather than a retail company. This option helps patients see you as giving and caring.

Choose a Professional Grade Contact Solution

Bausch and Lomb have partnered with Vision Source and offers an in-office program for optometrists all over the U.S. Another company, Alcon, released a new business strategy to help optometrist by offering professional grade contact lens solutions only available in a doctor’s office. Finally, CooperVision is now controlling the availability of the Suflon brand of contact lens solution, while AMO only offers its contact lens solution to optometrists.

Depending on the program you use, you can expect to realize between 20 and 40 percent profit on each bottle sold. Alcon’s program has about a 30 percent difference between the cost of each bottle and the MSRP (manufacturer’s suggested retail price).

Additionally, if you qualify for quantity rebates, you could increase your profit potential to 40 percent. Meanwhile, the patient pays approximately the same price as they would pay at a big-box retailer.

There are other benefits to your patients by offering a contact lens solution for sale in your optometry practice. You can help direct your patient toward the best solution to make your patient be more comfortable in their contact lenses. Furthermore, it reduces the potential of a competitor grabbing your patients’ attention and pulling them away from your practice.

The primary goal for optometrists offices is to make your practice as convenient as possible for your patients. By offering contact lens solution for sale at your office, you can offer formulas at an affordable price, large bottles and professional grade contact lens solution.

There is no reason to stock large amounts of contact lens solution. Most companies allow you to purchase one case of contact lens solution at a time. This means that your office will not be filled with product. Additionally, the four companies discussed above offers free shipping.

Some of these brands can even ship contact lens solution straight to the patient’s home with free shipping. This allows you to offer contact solutions on your optometry clinic’s website.

Remember, you may not be able to change all of your consumer’s habits, especially those who normally purchase their supplies in club stores. The goal is to show your patients that buying locally can essentially save them time, energy and money. Although the profit margins on contact lens solution are low compared to eyewear frames, it adds value to your patient’s visit to your office.

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