What You Need to Know About Growing Your Lab with Promotions

By Melissa White
We often look for stories in which laboratories yield positive results through promotional events. The success story below shows labs one opportunity to grow their business through similar promotions.

21st Century Optics—located in Long Island City, New York City, New York—recently achieved tremendous success through their annual “Set Sail to Success” promotion. Through this program, which they’ve run for several years, the winners (those who see an increase in sales of premium lenses such as Transitions® lenses) are invited to a dinner party that is co-sponsored by Transitions Optical and Essilor of America.

Despite 21st Century Optics’ ongoing goal to help its eye care professional customers grow their businesses with premium lens options, they noticed a decrease in the number of eye care professionals participating in the promotion over the past couple of years.

In 2007, they wanted to do something different to ensure an increase in participation, as well as a significant growth in sales of premium lenses. In the past, the lab ran the promotion for three months and would invite the winners to the dinner at the conclusion. This year, they decided to turn the process around—they invited select customers to a dinner as a kick-off to the promotion rather than a conclusion. During the dinner event, they worked with Transitions to divide the customers into three separate groups, giving them aggressive goals to meet in regard to sales of lenses with antireflective (AR) coating, Transitions lenses and Varliux progressive lenses. They were informed that if they met the goals, they would earn a chance to win one of four deluxe cruises.

The dinner resulted in a positive response. A total of 117 customers participated in the dinner and promotion. Participants knew that for each goal they met, they would receive a raffle ticket toward a cruise. If they completed all three goals, they would receive five raffle tickets. Prizes included a Queen Mary/London cruise, a Caribbean cruise, a Bermuda cruise and a Canadian cruise. At the end of the promotion, participants had the option to put their tickets toward one cruise, or divide them up. Additionally, all participants who completed their goals during the three-month period were given a check for $250.

Goals differed depending on which group a customer was in:

Category A: These are current high-volume, loyal customers who use 21st Century Optics as their primary lab. Their goal was to increase sales of AR, Transitions and progressives by 50 percent.

Category B: These customers may be high volume in some categories, but use more than two labs. They were asked to double their sales in AR, Transitions and progressives.

Category C: These are low volume in all or two areas, and 21st Century was not their primary lab. They were also asked to double their sales in AR, Transitions and progressives.

21st Century Optics found that during previous promotions, the customers’ attention level would drop as the promotion ran. To spark continued interest throughout the promotion, they worked with Transitions to send participants “goodies” and letters, reminding them to increase sales and providing their status on achieving each goal. As a result of these efforts, 21st Century saw a 17 percent increase in sales. Of the accounts who participated, 47 met their Transitions goal, 74 met the AR goal and 59 met the Varilux progressives goal.


CURRENT ISSUE


May/June LabTalk 2017