Cheaper, faster and more convenient. These are the qualities that many of today’s consumers value in the companies from which they choose to purchase their products and services. This consumer mindset has opened the door for new entrants into nearly every market—including contact lenses. Startups like Hubble, Waldo and Aveo are gaining ground and creating challenges for eye care professionals. Fortunately, CooperVision is in a unique position to help eye care practices retain contact lens sales.
We asked Mark Lindsey, General Manager, EyeCare Prime, to give us the rundown on the impact of these new market entrants and what CooperVision is doing to continue to support our customers.
What makes these new competitors appealing to patients?
Today’s consumers expect to be able to buy anything they want, any time they want and also have it delivered quickly. It’s no longer about just looking for the best price; consumers are even willing to pay more for convenience. When faced with the choice of driving into the office to their buy lenses or hopping online, the online competitor frequently wins.
How are independent eye care practitioners and key accounts impacted?
All of our customers, from independent practitioners to our largest key account customers, are being forced to evaluate how they sell and deliver products and services to today’s consumer. Many of these new market entrants are focused on contact lens sales, but there are some like Warby Parker, Opternative and Simple Contacts that are disrupting frame sales and even putting in-office eye exams at risk.
What can eye care practitioners (ECPs) do to continue to win and retain contact lens sales within their practices?
Today’s practitioners need to embrace the new consumer and become more progressive retailers. This is going to require them to modify the way they acquire new patients, book exams, and sell and deliver frames and contact lenses. They will need to adopt a 24/7 mentality to be able to compete effectively with the new market players. Consumers have a choice in their purchases, and while they would prefer to do business with their trusted practitioner, convenience and accessibility are going to be strong factors in their decision.
What is CooperVision doing to help support our customers?
CooperVision has a longstanding commitment to support the success of every eye care professional. We’ve been delivering value-added programs in every region for over a decade. These programs are designed to augment great contact lenses with services that help keep our fitters relevant to today’s consumers. A recent example that highlights our commitment to help our partners sell more lenses using our tools was the offering of free subscription services for all U.S. Vision Source offices. Whether it’s through subscription services on CooperVision lenses, free home delivery options, mobile ordering through LensFerry® or any of the social and digital marketing offerings from EyeCare Prime, CooperVision continues to be the category leader in supporting our key account partners and independent offices.