Bundling Puts 100 Percent Usage of AR Lenses in Reach

By Grady Culbreth
Industry sources continue to report significant growth of AR lens sales in the past few years. A considerable portion of this growth has been perpetuated by marketing efforts of numerous national chains. They have chosen to put AR lenses on nearly every consumer’s face by including them as a standard part of their primary eyewear offering. Why have only a portion of the pie when you can enjoy most of it? Chains have been the movers and shakers of our industry starting back when progressives first came on the market. It was the chains that showed the industry how to sell them. There is a similar correlation . . . AR is not going to grow by itself. I believe it is up to the laboratories to encourage and support these efforts with marketing tools and the bundling of products at the laboratory level.

Let’s Face It

Most ECP’s continue to include AR on only 15 to 20 percent of the lenses they sell. There are two probable reasons for this.

1. Opticians simply are not educating the patient.

2. They are using the old “add-on” price chart.

Psychologically, patients may feel they are being taken advantage of with this sales technique. The majority of patients are willing to spend just so much more when it comes to add-ons.

Laboratories, It’s Time to Take the Bull by the Horns!

It’s really going to be up to the labs to get this ball rolling. I am going to mention this phrase, “Bundling Technology.” Ideally, it would be nice if ECP’s would bundle. They just don’t understand that a patient would rather pay one price and be told about all the bells and whistles they are getting with that price—super hard coat, AR lens, the newest top coat technology that allows dirt to just fall off the lens, easy to keep clean—than be given a price plus add-ons.

If the labs decided to only sell AR lenses, this would be good for everyone including the end consumer. I know there are a few laboratories that are offering high-end progressive lenses with AR but that is not enough. Why not bundle all of your lenses with AR and slightly drop the price of AR? In the end, you would reap the financial benefits and the consumer would receive the best vision possible.

This whole process is going to start and end with your lab reps. They are going to have to continue to educate ECP’s and help them to understand the importance of AR lenses and how AR lenses will benefit not only their bottom line but their patient’s vision. So, start bundling!

The AR Council has many tools that your lab reps can use when educating ECP’s. The Council has worked hard to understand exactly what tools were necessary for that job. They have two educational videos—one for the patient and one for the eyecare professional. There are generic patient brochures for those dispensaries that use more than just one brand of AR lenses. Those are just a few of the tools that can make a difference.

What about the lens manufacturers? They have AR lens literature, demonstrators, programs and a lot of tips that can also help with the education process. They understand that everyone who works in an optical practice of any kind must wear AR lenses. That means the doctor, the desk person and of course all of the opticians. Patients always want to wear what the optician and the doctor are wearing—after all they know what is best. Manufacturers and laboratories should be sure they make this financially possible by putting AR lenses on each of their customer’s faces.

Written by Crady Culbreth of Carl Zeiss Lenses, LLC.

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August/September LabTalk 2017