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The 3 C's:  Your Customers, Competition, & Competitive Edge.

Tom Doyle
by Tom Doyle on October 26, 2015 at 5:36 AM
It's time to make technology work for you.  And it's easier than you think.

Does the thought of using technology in the dispensary make you break into a cold sweat?

It shouldn't!

Let's face facts. Technology, the internet - even smart phones - are already integral parts of our everyday lives.. There are screens appearing in stores and restaurants, highlighting products, allowing shoppers to see more buying options online, even encouraging them to order hors d'oeuvres via tablets instead of from waiters.

It's everywhere!

And it can help you. Technology is highly appealing to today's plugged-in consumer. That's why if you are a retailer, it is definitely time to look at how your store uses technology now, and how it can start to use it to engage with tech-savvy customers in the future. Consider something that we like to call The 3 Cs.

The 3 Cs:

Your Customers,

Your Competition,

and Your Competitive Edge.

 

Your Customers

Unless your store is located on Antarctica or a deserted island somewhere without electricity, your customers are already regular Internet users. The web continues to grow more and more each day, and here's some proof:

  • At this very moment, there are over 3.2 billion people using the Internet (Internet Live Stats)
  • Adults 50 years old and above represent 1/3 of total Internet users in the US (CMO)
  • 81% of consumers research products and services online before any transaction (Social Times)
  • Online shopping sales are predicted to grow up to $370 billion by 2017 (CMO)

So again, your customers are already online and are probably making purchases or looking for services online.

Be A Star eBook

Your Competition

Not only are your customers online, but so is your competition. Online retailers have the capability to offer a huge range of products. It's important that your customers don't feel "limited" in comparison.  Can you expand your physical offering in order to compete? Probably not, given that most retail stores have limited space. But you can see that online selling power and raise it by one "virtual frame board". Because the reality is that if you're online competition can offer anything, so can you.

Depending on your practice, you may not want to offer just anything...you may want to limit your virtual selection to vendors you know you can order from.  But at a minimum, you can supplement your physical inventory with the ability to show patients additional frames online from those vendors. This ability to go the extra mile is key, and it's how you'll get...

Your Competitive Edge

This is where you can WIN THE GAME.  Your competitive edge is your ability to provide just as much variety as the web, while offering superior customer service and real-world interaction/fitting. Your customer will be loyal to you if you can provide a fantastic face-to-face experience without sacrificing choice. Remember this formula:

AMAZING CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE + AMAZING PRODUCT SELECTION = LOYAL CUSTOMERS

So what can you do?

  1. Start with what's simple. Use Frames Data Online to show patients frames that aren't on your board but can be special ordered for them. If you subscribe Frames Data already, it's part of your subscription.  This is already available for you to start using TODAY!
  2. Add technology where appropriate. Consider iPad apps that support your sales; look at VSP's otto app for instance.
  3. Instead of counter cards, ask your frame vendors if they have digital displays that can be used to promote their products.

The Internet is definitely here to stay - but that's 100% awesome! Open your doors to all the opportunities being online presents. Give your customers a wider selection of frames to choose from and quality service they aren't able to get from your online competitors.

Go forth and go online. The Internet is your friend.

 

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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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