CORAL SPRINGS, Fla.—ABB Optical Group
recently hosted its national sales meeting in Orlando with a focus on the growth of the eyecare industry. More than 150 sales professionals attended the event to learn about new strategies for helping eyecare practitioners accelerate growth and increase profitability. “Optometry is growing today thanks to a range of factors, including technological advances, increased medical spending, and better educated patients who understand the importance of vision care,” said Angel Alvarez, founder and CEO of ABB Optical Group. “With great confidence in the future of optometry, we are investing in our products and services to truly partner with our customers on economic growth and success.”
The company’s three-day conference focused on several key areas of growth opportunities for eyecare practitioners. Among these are daily disposables. ABB’s first quarter 2018 data shows that ECPs who partner with the company are growing their contact lens sales 33 percent faster than the market on average. Daily disposables is a category which has experienced a 15 percent dollar growth year-to-date.
During the conference, ABB Optical debuted its catalog of new specialty lenses with an emphasis on the growth potential for gas permeable lenses (GPs). “Our data shows tremendous opportunities for practitioners in the hyper growth segments of sclerals and orthokeratology,” said Aaron See, vice president of marketing. “Many optometrists learn about these lenses in school but may not have much experience prescribing them in their practice. ABB is well poised to help make the prescribing process a successful one with our team of extremely knowledgeable and highly trained GP consultants.”
Direct-to-patient shipping is also an area of opportunity, ABB reports, noting that data shows that patients are seven times less likely to return contact lenses when products are shipped directly to their homes or workplaces. Additionally, eyecare practices that ship a higher portion of their soft contact lenses sales directly to patients outpace the national average for dollar growth. Practices with more than 45 percent direct-to-patient dollar share grew 8.6 percent year-over-year compared to the national average of 7.2 percent year-over-year growth.
“It’s extremely important for practice owners to recognize the ‘Amazon effect’ on their patients’ expectations for convenience and fast turnaround times,” said Brad Weinbrum, president of ABB. “Asking patients to make return office visits to get their lenses not only inconveniences the patient, who may decide to order from an online retailer instead, but it also burns into staff time that could be better spent on other, more profitable initiatives.”
Another area where practices can improve efficiency: consolidating orders to one lab that reliably provides innovative products, consistent quality and fast turnaround times. “Patients are discerning consumers with high expectations. Retail-oriented practitioners are poised for unmatched levels of profitably and partnering with the right lab can really help drive that growth,” said Scott Pearl, managing director of Digital Eye Lab Network.