How SeePort Optometry uses My Frame Gallery to Compete
My Frame Gallery is "the way of the future" according to this power user.
During this year’s COVID 19 crisis, many brick and mortar optical dispensaries found themselves scrambling to put together new processes to ensure the safety of patients and staff. At the same time, traffic to online retailers grew dramatically while everyone was quarantined at home with little else to do.
Suddenly there was both an urgent need and an opportunity to re-envision the intersection of optical retail with online shopping. What’s an independent practice to do?
Turn to Frames Data, that’s what.
Don’t take it from us, though—take it from Annie Hicks, who, along with her husband Dr. Jesse Hicks, owns and runs SeePort Optometry in Northport, Florida. A thriving independent optometry practice, the Hicks have spent the past decade establishing SeePort as the premier destination for quality eyewear in their region.
|Annie Hicks of SeePort Optometry
“We were the first completely independent optometrist and optical in the town,” Annie says, “and we actually still are. Our competition is big name stores, box stores, and ophthalmology groups. So we spent quite a lot of time building up a reputation for customer service and good products.”
When the COVID pandemic hit, rather than being discouraged, she turned to a valuable resource the practice had been utilizing for the past four years: Frames Data—specifically, its My Frame Gallery product, which allows patients to virtually try on glasses from home in a manner not dissimilar to features utilized by most online optical sites.
"I said to myself, 'This is what is needed and wanted. You've got to keep up.' So I started looking at Frames Data and you really can't get a better company to work with… They have all the data, all the frame lines, they're the industry standard,” Hicks enthuses.
“People think it's so neat. They really like it a lot… This cuts down the time they have to be out of the house, in the store, and it's good for everybody. They can have less anxiety about being out. I've actually found it cuts down on the anxiety of eyewear shopping for patients... with the Virtual Try-On, they can try stuff on at home, they see what looks good on them, they see the style, and it cuts down on their anxiety.”
...a curated experience that adds a degree of not only convenience but also luxury to the frame selection process.
By using the virtual frame gallery — which is stocked with the same frames Hicks offers at SeePort — patients are able to pre-select frames at home, based on what they’re looking for in color, shape, and style. It all begins when patients visit SeePort’s website to make an appointment.
"I have designed our patient registration process to be as digital as possible. That includes the Frame Gallery, it's now just part of our overall registration process," says Hicks. "Patients know they will need to fill out demographics, medical history and other forms already, but all of these forms are now embedded online at seeportoptometry.com. This allows us to shift that part of the appointment so that it's taken care of entirely online, before the patient comes for the in-office experience. That's better from the patient's point of view, because they can take their time and complete paperwork from a more comfortable setting, like their living room couch. It's preferable from our point of view because it helps make for a more efficient appointment."
After paperwork, the online process moves to the Frame Gallery. "Just like if they were in-office, the next logical step is shopping for eyewear, and again they can start that process on their own, online. Patients are automatically re-directed to the online gallery after their forms are filled out, to start browsing frames. That helps us ensure that patients find and use the online Gallery. We present it as the natural next step after registration, just like if they were in person in the office. It feels organic to the patient and allows us to create this super efficient process."
The dispensary at Seeport Optometry.
Once patients have browsed online and added frames to a wishlist, the opticians at SeePort receive an email of the patients' choices. Then, Hicks and her staff can have the frames waiting when patients come into the store — a curated experience that adds a degree of not only convenience but also luxury to the frame selection process.
“We have the frames laid out for them when they come in,” Hicks says, “and if we don't have one of the ones they initially picked, we choose a replacement, because now we know they like plastic or metal, or they like rectangle- you can see by their choices the style they're looking for. And we can just take it from there and make our own suggestions.”
By using the Frame Gallery, Hicks estimates that the average selection time is down to ten to fifteen minutes...
Not only does the Frame Gallery allow patients to try on frames from the comfort of their own home, it primes them to be ready to make a selection once they’ve actually arrived for their appointment.
By using the Frame Gallery, in fact, Hicks estimates that the average selection time is down to ten to fifteen minutes, depending on the patient—a virtual nanosecond for those opticians who’ve encountered patients that can normally take upwards of an hour trying on frames in office.
“We have 300 frames for them to choose from,” Hicks says. “So they've gotta look at everything, it's trial and error. With this, you take a lot of that trial and error out of the process. They don't have to try on forty, fifty frames that you now have to sanitize, set aside, get back on the board— all those steps are taken out as well. You pull down some frames based on their wishlist submission and...voila! A personalized, curated eyewear experience.”
SeePort Optometry's online Frame Gallery.
It’s a system that not only makes frame selection easier, but which also demonstrates the limitation of "online-only" optical: While patients logging onto a website are only able to see what they might look like in a given pair of frames, SeePort patients are then given the added personal benefit of being able to interact with Hicks or one of her opticians, ask questions, and receive the personal attention that can't be matched by a website.
"...They don't have to try on forty, fifty frames that you now have to sanitize, set aside, get back on the board— all those steps are taken out as well. You pull down some frames based on their wishlist submission and... voila! A personalized, curated eyewear experience”
To further incentivize patients to use the Frames Gallery, Hicks also offers a 15% discount on cash-pay patients who submit a wish list when they make their appointment. In addition to the reasons already mentioned above, Hicks says it’s also a good way to get skeptical patients to try out the Gallery, get comfortable with using it, and learn its benefits for future appointments.
“The Frame Gallery almost always impresses patients when they use it, Hicks says. Plus, it “encourages cash pay patients to at least take a look at me instead of the super-duper discount place across the street.”
Indeed, it’s the opportunities for that special extra degree of human interaction that Hicks credits with making Frames Data such an innovative tool for independent practices, using an attention-grabbing publicity campaign she implemented at the beginning of quarantine as an example.
“At the beginning of the COVID shutdown, we were all panicking. So I had the idea of doing a contest. I created a Facebook contest, a coloring contest for children. And for all the entries, whoever got the most shares, likes, and comments got to go onto the Virtual Frame gallery, try on the In View sunglasses, and pick a pair that I sent them for free. I did a little Zoom meeting with the kids, ‘Do you like this one, this one?’ And it was an online experience that I now know how to do.”
The contest quickly went viral on social media, attracting the attention of local news outlets and drawing countless people to SeePort’s website—a number that’s translated into plenty of new appointments and inquiries from patients eager for their own curated eyewear experience.
"People's spending and shopping habits are changed forever by this. Having the online experience, knowledge, and tools is going to help us keep up with changing times"
In a rapidly changing world, Frames Data’s My Frame Gallery allows opticians and optometrists the opportunity to give patients an oasis of stability and safety—today and tomorrow. Asked if she’ll continue to use the Frames Gallery in a post-COVID world, Hicks doesn’t hesitate to respond. “Absolutely… People's spending and shopping habits are changed forever by this. Having the online experience, knowledge, and tools is going to help us keep up with changing times… They’re the way of the future.”
Request a demo of My Frame Gallery today! Here are 5 ways to get started:
- Request information
- Schedule a demo
- Order now (existing Frames Data subscribers should call in to add My Frame Gallery to your existing account)
- Call us (for single location practices) at 1-800-821-6069 ext 3.
- Call us (multiple location practices) at 1-800-821-6069 ext 4.