The Importance of Offering Children’s Eyewear
Children in need of corrective lenses present a huge opportunity for expansion in the Eyecare industry, according to Mark Mattison-Shupnick, ABOM, and the academic director of Jobson Medical Information. Mark Mattison-Shupnick recently expounded on his views at the Vision Expo West held in Las Vegas
Looking Over the Facts and Figures
Not sure if this is the best idea for your practice? Take a moment to consider the data.
The United States is home to over 60 million people aged 14 and older—this is approximately one out every five people — and one out of every four of them is vision impaired. Mattison-Shupnick estimated that a very large percentage of this population suffers from an untreated condition.
Mattison-Shupnick goes on to explain that only 7% of first graders have had a complete eye exam by the time they reach and complete high school the figure climbs to 50%.
During 2011 and 2013 there was a considerable drop in the amounts of eyewear sold to adults, during this time the sale of children’s eyewear increased by 10 to 25%.
More kids than ever can take advantage of the Affordable Care Act and receive eye care therapy.
“The advent of Obamacare has expanded service and now covers children’s corrective lenses as well. The eye care industry should look at this as a huge opportunity for getting glasses for those kids with poor eyesight”, says Mattison-Shupnick.
Once you have gotten the child into the office, be sure to get the whole family to come down as patients. The mother is often the last word on health concerns and treatments when it comes to the other members of the family, Daddy as well as kiddos.
“When making an appointment for a child, be sure you look over the insurance policy to see if any other family members are covered and would like to schedule an appointment at the same time,” advises Mattison-Shupnick.
“Another thing to consider is that child patients can turn out to be the best kind to have, they will indubitably need treatment throughout their entire life and will bring thousands of dollars to your practice, so it is a demographic worth pursuing”.
Selling to Mom
Before you can complete the deal you will need to make the parents aware of the necessity, if it is indeed there. The best way to do this is to have the parents and the child in the office while you perform the eye exam.
Parents will often say with things like “the child has never complained of poor eyesight”, “She’s too young to have problems” or “the school screening said he’s fine”. The truth is that observant parents will often pick up on subtle indications that their child’s sight is in need of care.
A child who can’t see well, is going to have difficulties in school and can even develop worse conditions. The results of the exam will speak for themselves, but who is going to make the biggest deal over the new glasses? It’s usually the mother who is most excited to see their studious looking child sporting nifty new eyewear.
With this in mind make the sale in the contextof the Mother, or whichever parent, relative or caretaker brought the child. Decide on what features and protection is most important to them from their perspective. Ask about values over style, do they want durability? UV protection for the outdoors? Does the child spend many hours in front of a digital display?
When selling the product make sure you emphasize the value of this purchase to the parent. Kids will have other criteria, but Mom will always want what is best for her brood and if that means eyewear so be it.
That Will Include:
- Offering a warranty
- Scratch resistance, photochromic, etc.
- Long Lasting, adjustable frames in hypoallergenic materials
- Lenses in polycarbonate
- Frame brands, colors, and comfortable frames that kids will be enthusiastic about
Mattison-Shupnick also mentioned the manufacturing trends are being geared toward younger users. Many eyewear companies are creating an equal amount of styles, colors and designs for kids as they will produce for adults. This has been conventionally an adult market with limited options for children, but this is changing.
Kids want to look every bit as dashing as their parents and want adapted styles and brands they see their parents wearing.
Finding parents (and their kids)
Because you will be marketing to parents of younger children, you need to take you option to where your clientele spend its time — that would be social media sites. You have indubitably heard this advice a few times before, but it is worth reiterating. Mattison-Shupnick insists that any practice hoping to make a splash here makes it on a social media scene.
It would be prudent to constantly post on your Twitter, Facebook or Instagram account. Ask your patients permission to get a snapshot and post those too.
Never forget the power of word of mouth advertising, take some time to get involved with the community, set up a booth at a health fair or any other public rally that would make a good conveyance for your option.