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Optical retail has evolved in the digital world, has yours?

Tom Doyle
by Tom Doyle on July 20, 2017 at 10:09 AM

Below:  7 Ways Frames Data can help POWER UP your optical retail dispensary in the digital environment

If you’ve been in the optical retail business for a few years, you’ve seen your dispensary evolve.  You have EHR and practice management software now.  Maybe you use VisionWeb, or Eyefinity, or submit managed care claims online, or visit frame supplier sites.  

It’s a digital world now!  And in this digital world, having an up-to-date, well-maintained product database is even more important than it was when we worked primarily with pen, paper, phone and fax. 

That’s because the digital dispensary is also less forgiving of missing details and inaccuracy.  If you have missing information, a claim reimbursement can be delayed, or a lab job can be processed wrong, or a frame ordered incorrectly. 

The digital world expects an impossible perfection in ways that didn’t matter as much back when it was a pen and paper world.

Luckily, while you were evolving and adapting to the times, so did Frames Data. 

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It’s not the “Frame Facts” you may have known in decades past. Back then, every practice received a giant paper catalog of frames (now we call it Big Book) that dispensaries would use to look up frame information.

Of course, many optical retailers still use that Big Book, sometimes called the “Bible of frames” as I've often heard longtime subscribers refer to it — and they still derive a lot of benefit from it.

The Frames Data of today also includes online and digital tools that are used by dispensaries across the country to manage their businesses more profitably, with less errors, less breakage, and more efficiency.

Every practice has its own style of working.  Wondering how Frames Data can help your frame business thrive in the digital world? 

Here are 7 reasons why you should be using Frames Data.

REASON #1:  Load'em up! Frames Data integrates with practice management software, so you can simply load frame info into your software instead of spending hours entering it by hand.

Using a software package (for instance OfficeMate, Compulink, MaximEyes, My Vision Express, etc) to record frame sales and inventory?  

Instead of spending tedious hours every week entering UPC codes and measurements into your software, you can load it in with a few mouse clicks and get new frames out to your sales floor faster.  

Loading data takes just a fraction of the time required to enter it manually, plus it reduces the errors typically created during manual data entry.

You’ll have more time to spend on more important tasks,  and you'll have a cleaner, more accurate, easier to work with, database.

Why is accuracy important? 

It’s very easy to accidentally enter a 12 digit UPC code or a measurement incorrectly, especially if you’re hand entering dozens of frames at a time. 

If you do enter a wrong code, the next time you scan that bar code, your system won’t find it.  And then, maybe you'll enter it again and make messy duplicates.  Or worse, you’ll send an order to your lab with incorrect measurements attached, resulting in a costly re-make.  

The bottom line is you should avoid entering frame info by hand at all costs.  

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It's not worth the huge headache that will result,  and besides, you'll save a ton of time, impress everyone with how efficient you are, and be happier because you don't have a headache from spending hours staring at a screen entering UPC codes and measurements by hand every time you have new frames.

Use Frames Data’s SPEX UPC ( a disk or digital download) or Frames Data IDA (which loads data into your system via the web) instead. Once you start, you won't believe you used to enter it by hand.

REASON #2:  Bar codes make everything easier.

Once you've loaded Frames Data into your system, complete with UPC codes, your software should allow you to scan a UPC bar code and match it to the corresponding item that Frames Data has placed in your system.  

Essentially, you scan the bar code and the software says to itself, "Oh i know what that is.  It's frame XYZ  from such-and-such frame company, and now i know that I have one in stock. I'm going to give it a retail price of X times the wholesale rate, which I also have."  I over simplify somewhat, but you get the point.

With bar codes already in your system, you can scan the code and quickly select that frame's digital record. Then you tell the software what's happening to that frame, i.e, you've received it into inventory, you've sold it, you are sending it to a lab, you are submitting a managed care claim, or you're re-ordering it.

REASON #3:  Consistency is key! A Frames Data license subscription allows you to create consistency in your inventory database across multiple retail locations.

Have multiple locations?  Using Frames Data will create consistency at all of your optical dispensaries and will allow you to keep track of your sales, current inventory, and top selling frames more easily. 

For instance: a frame called TM-108 will always be TM-108 no matter what location it's in.  Managing it centrally with Frames Data means never erroneously hand-entering it as TM108 or TM 108, and never creating messy duplicates that will skew your reports.  

Speaking of reports...

REASON #4: Reports are everything. Frames Data helps you take advantage of  the reporting capabilities in your software, so you can manage your business more effectively.

You've heard of "garbage in, garbage out," right?  

That's exactly the case with your software's reporting.  An accurate, clean product database  is required if you expect to have a meaningful report to help guide your decisions. 

These reports are important for your dispensary : Are earnings higher, lower, or the same as last year? What about sales by salesperson? What frames are the top sellers?  This key information should be presented clearly.

Your practice management software (OfficeMate, Compulink, MaximEyes, Flexsys, My Vision Express etc.) can create reports to better manage your business, but you need start with accurate frame info in your system to begin using these important reports.  (Click HERE for a complete list of Practice Management Software that integrates with Frames Data.)

REASON #5:  VSP is easy as 123. Frames Data makes submitting VSP claims online easier and faster.

Using Eyefinity to process your VSP claims?  Accurate, up-to-date wholesale pricing automatically populates in the VSP claims engine inside Eyefinity. This allows Frames Data subscribers to process managed care claims much faster since they don’t need to look up the required wholesale pricing for each frame individually.

REASON #6:  Sell more. Frames Data’s website helps you sell more frames! 

Frames Data is frequently used as a sales tool to virtually expand your physical frame selection. 

Frames Data Online displays big, beautiful full color images in multiple color ways,  and even looks great on a tablet! Many subscribers show their customers frames that aren’t on the practice’s frame board.

Have a customer looking for just the right frame?  Use Frames Data’s online search tool to find the frames and images to make the sale, instead of letting the customer walk out the door.

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REASON #7:  Update your pricing. Frames Data’s PriceSearch keeps your frame inventory pricing up-to-date, which saves you money.

Keeping your wholesale/retail pricing up-to-date is vital to maintaining your profit margins, and to do that you must always have the current wholesale price.  The wholesale price determines the retail price you charge for each frame and what price you submit in managed care reimbursement, and is therefore vital to always keep current!

If the wholesale price increases but you don’t update it in your inventory, you may be leaving money on the table.

Frames Data Online includes a special section called PriceSearch, which allows you to easily find wholesale pricing for frames.  It even has a convenient tool to find recent price changes by brand. 

Running a report of recent price changes once a month is a handy way to identify which frames in your database need to be updated, especially if your software is not making automatic updates for you!


If you're ready to take the plunge, visit our page for optical retailers here.  Use the drop down menu to tell us which software package you use (select "I don't have software" if you indeed do not have software), and voila! We'll take you to the product page that will work for you!  

Or if you're really not sure you're ready to commit, click on one of the Free Trial buttons in this post (see above). 

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Tom Doyle
Written by Tom Doyle
Tom Doyle is Frames Data’s Director of Marketing & Key Accounts, and has been working as a marketer within the optical industry for over 10 years. In that time he’s worked with many software companies on new integrations, and has developed an understanding of what works and what doesn’t. Tom is also keenly interested in productivity methodology, the color orange used in marketing, and karaoke. He is also a die-hard cat person.
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