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Thread: Special ordering frames

  1. #26
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    Any special order frame is a $10 charge to cover shipping fee. This usually curbs the patient urge to see multiple colors in person.

  2. #27
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    DRK, There is only one way your patient knows that a frame comes in colors other than what you have in stock...your staff told them. Train your staff to sell what you have in stock.
    Patient: Does this frame come in other colors?
    Optician: We also have red, and purple.
    If they don't care for those colors, move on to another frame.
    Last edited by CME4SPECS; 02-21-2024 at 02:20 PM.

  3. #28
    What's up? drk's Avatar
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    This.

    I will redouble my efforts to be sure that our inventory is "full" to our "plan" (sometimes there are holes in the board). Then we will say "these are the 'best colors'." Indeed, if there are several good colors, I will try to represent them directly or indirectly with a "sister" frame style that crosses colors.

    I think the idea is reasonable to have a "special order" option for patients IF THEY MUST ASK for it. But it won't be free. It will have to cover 1. staff time to order and track and reschedule 2. shipping out 3. potential shipping back 4. tracking for credit by our accounting department.

    That's not nothing. If you add it up, it's gotta be around $30.

    So, it's a "special order fee, non-refundable, but if the frame is acceptable we'll waive the fee when making a final order".

    As to limits, I think you'd seriously have to do it PER FRAME ordered. They could be totally separate vendors. Synchronizing all the ordered frames for a single setting takes time and effort. I don't see any volume discount opportunity, here.

    But unless they want to purchase each frame they ordered (they won't, of course) then they are paying NO MATTER WHAT. "Order three, pay $90, maybe like one and you only have to pay $60". That's not gonna fly. You may as well have a "special concierge fee" at that point.

    So the practical limit would be one frame order-able.

  4. #29
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    I never knew selling a frame could be so complicated.

  5. #30
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    Gotta think stuff out, bro.

  6. #31
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    A simple, modest fee per frame the client wants to order is entirely reasonable. It may also help to "make up the mind" of said indecisive client, and minimize ordering headaches and excessive costs to the practice. $30/frame seems like a very well though out and logical starting point for your time, expert services, and added expense. I'd consider more - you're absolutely worth it.

  7. #32
    What's up? drk's Avatar
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    I've spent a lot of executive brain-power on this. (Haha.)

    Our conclusion:
    1. If your inventory is well-maintained, it does the work for you. In other words, be smart about bringing in the best sizes, colors, and don't leave the boards empty, and special ordering is not as much an issue.
    2. To that point, if you are going to simply bring in that third color on that frame you have in stock, it's not so bad to have that third color if the patient declines it. She'll probably buy one of the other colors, and the third color can take it's place, if you don't want to return it. I think the optician should have leeway in those cases, and ordering for the patient shouldn't necessarily incur a cost. Remember, this is a frame you wanted in your optical.
    3. The real category I'm trying to kill off is the "I just saw Al Roker in a Pepto-Bismol pink frame and I want it" (that's a real case) or the "I'm looking for a small hippy 60's metal-front oval frame with plastic temples" (real case two days ago). "Oh, and I have EyeMed."

    These are frames I DON'T WANT in my optical because they are special patient requests. They are one-offs.

    And I don't want to do them, period. If I did decide to provide a special shopping service, it surely would be for a lot of money. Even a $29 per frame fee wouldn't be good enough for me, now that I think about it. It would need to be higher. So I'm really not going to provide this service.

  8. #33
    Master OptiBoarder DanLiv's Avatar
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    • Do not offer additional colors, but show options on request
    • Special order product only with eyewear purchase. If frame prices differ we can adjust once final decision is made.
    • One frame can be special ordered with purchase at no additional charge (e.g. we have it in blue, and they want the eyewear just in black instead, done)
    • 20% restocking fee on any additional special ordered product after the first that is not purchased. (I had only one person take me up on this in 10 years. The point isn't to profit or even make it cost-neutral, it's to discourage it)


    This is my policy. Having it in place makes it easy to fall back on if I'm not really into going above and beyond for a customer, and provides clear guidelines and handy protection for my staff if they don't want to do extra; they just cite the policy and that's discouragement enough. However, I exceed it often, and allow staff to if they do want to do extra for their customer.

    I am a firm believer that if a policy is necessary, make it simple, conservative, and restrictive, and fair, but allow yourself and your staff the flexibility to bypass policy, with permission. I do find my staff appreciates both the policies and the permission, because it alleviates them of the pressure of making case-by-case judgment calls when they don't want to or are unsure, but gives them the power to do so when they do.

  9. #34
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    it seems like you guys are hesitant to order anything outside of what's on your board. let say that makes or break the sale? how would you know if not ordering that frame leads to the person walking out with the rx? is your capture rate pretty high by not special ordering anything?

    I think you say no if the person is wanting to see the rainbow in a few different styles. I get that. But lets say you order 2 frames, is it that hard to put them on the board and sell them?(unless its a far fetched style or color or expensive like a l.a.eyeworks or cartier?) or even hold onto them until you meet the rep for your quarterly revamp.

    is there a margin that you are fine with ordering another color? let say you have to make xyz but if you make xy then tell the patient it only comes in that color.

  10. #35
    What's up? drk's Avatar
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    Danliv!

  11. #36
    What's up? drk's Avatar
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    ID you have the right idea.

    VCP margins are really not for even "standard" service, but that's something you live with. But it's really not for "superb service".

    OTOH, if you happen to have a valuable customer/patient, even if it's under a VCP, you may want to treat them like they're paying normal retail, which in my office engenders excellent service.

  12. #37
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    I'm pretty sure we've all had the patient who didn't like the special order frame and then went with another choice but you ordered to fill their curiosity and hopefully translate to word of mouth of great service. That is still our most valuable commodity in terms of getting new patients through the door.

  13. #38
    Master OptiBoarder AngeHamm's Avatar
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    We have to special order a frame for a patient only a couple or a few times a week. Usually we'll throw a couple other frames for stock by the same manufacturer in the cart in order to qualify for free shipping. Easy-peasy.

    How frequently does this happen? How much is it really hurting your bottom line? Insisting that every single transaction hits some consistent profit margin is a good way to drive yourself and your clientele crazy. I always come back to the idea that we do better to sell a relationship than a product; coming across as a penny-pincher for the one or two times a week that this comes up is a definite turn-off. Losing five or six sales a year to patients who chafe at your rules loses you more than you've gained by enforcing them.

    Occasionally eating a shipping charge is just the cost of doing business. Or you can try to capture those costs in another way that doesn't trouble you on a case-by case basis; at one office where I worked we simply added $5 to every frame price to compensate for increased shipping costs.
    I'm Andrew Hamm and I approve this message.

  14. #39
    OptiBoardaholic Optical Roy's Avatar
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    We operate under "sell what you can see. not see what you can sell", if they push hard enough, I'll order under "patient approval" and have them pay the shipping even if they do not choose that frame. Then I either have my rep RA for credit, or put it on the board.
    Roy W. Jackson, Sr. ABOC

  15. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by AngeHamm View Post
    We have to special order a frame for a patient only a couple or a few times a week. Usually we'll throw a couple other frames for stock by the same manufacturer in the cart in order to qualify for free shipping. Easy-peasy.

    How frequently does this happen? How much is it really hurting your bottom line? Insisting that every single transaction hits some consistent profit margin is a good way to drive yourself and your clientele crazy. I always come back to the idea that we do better to sell a relationship than a product; coming across as a penny-pincher for the one or two times a week that this comes up is a definite turn-off. Losing five or six sales a year to patients who chafe at your rules loses you more than you've gained by enforcing them.

    Occasionally eating a shipping charge is just the cost of doing business. Or you can try to capture those costs in another way that doesn't trouble you on a case-by case basis; at one office where I worked we simply added $5 to every frame price to compensate for increased shipping costs.
    You special order a frame for a customer 2-3 times a week?

  16. #41
    Master OptiBoarder AngeHamm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NAICITPO View Post
    You special order a frame for a customer 2-3 times a week?
    Sure. I can't carry every color I know looks great. As long as I add a couple more frames I know I'm going to need to the order, shipping is usually zero.
    I'm Andrew Hamm and I approve this message.

  17. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by AngeHamm View Post
    Sure. I can't carry every color I know looks great. As long as I add a couple more frames I know I'm going to need to the order, shipping is usually zero.
    Your inventory must be way out of control.

  18. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by CME4SPECS View Post
    Your inventory must be way out of control.
    define out of control
    whats the appropiate number of backstock?

  19. #44
    Master OptiBoarder AngeHamm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CME4SPECS View Post
    Your inventory must be way out of control.
    It really isn't. I order a correspondingly lower amount when I see my reps.
    I'm Andrew Hamm and I approve this message.

  20. #45
    Compulsive Truthteller OptiBoard Gold Supporter Uncle Fester's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CME4SPECS View Post
    DRK, There is only one way your patient knows that a frame comes in colors other than what you have in stock...your staff told them. Train your staff to sell what you have in stock.
    Patient: Does this frame come in other colors?
    Optician: We also have red, and purple.
    If they don't care for those colors, move on to another frame.
    I would usually ask them to commit to the display frame color if the special order is not to their liking. And tack on a $15 shipping fee somewhere in the lens charge.

  21. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by AngeHamm View Post
    It really isn't. I order a correspondingly lower amount when I see my reps.
    I mean that makes sense. The only issue I would have is usually when I'm buying frames I ask what color is selling the best. So when someone is ordering a different color to look at they are probably choosing the color that doesn't move as well. 2-3 times a week still seems excessive to me but I guess it would really depend on how much of your customers are cash pay. If you are running a boutique shop without a doc and mostly cash I can definitely understand catering more to the needs of your customers. But if you take vision care plans I cannot imagine not charging to bring frames in, or at least trying to to make it less desirable to do so.
    Last edited by NAICITPO; 02-29-2024 at 12:27 PM.

  22. #47
    Master OptiBoarder DanLiv's Avatar
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    Another option if you want to deny special orders without just outright saying no, is Eyemed and Spectera explicitly state frame benefits can be applied to any frame "in your inventory". I haven't found such language in VSP, but one can easily make a case that it is implied offices are not required to special order product, therefore if one does it is a non-covered service and usual & customary fees apply. That will stop the vision plan shoppers cold. But hey, if they really want it at usual fee, great!

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