TECHNOLOGY: Contact Lenses ABB Optical Group Announces the Pilot Launch of ‘Abby’ E-Commerce Platform By Staff Monday, March 7, 2022 12:21 AM CORAL SPRINGS, Fla.—ABB Optical Group, a leading independent eyecare company, has announced the pilot launch of "Abby”—a convenient web-based contact lens ordering platform that keeps patients connected to their eyecare providers. Abby serves as a virtual staff member, working smart and hard: 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to service patient ordering direct from the doctor, the ABB Optical announcement today noted. A group of eyecare professionals is now piloting Abby. The goal of the pilot is to gather feedback from providers, staff, and patients to elevate the user experience and enhance the platform before the product is broadly launched this summer, according to the announcement.All customers, regardless of pilot status, can sign-up now to get information on what Abby is learning and get timelines on when they can enroll at helloabby.com. The launch of the new platform comes as ABB Optical is reporting that it will be making a series of investments to support best-in-class service and tools for its customers and growth in the three pillars of its business: ABB Contact Lens, ABB Labs and ABB Business Solutions, as VMAIL reported last week. “Too many patients leave their doctor’s office and buy their contact lenses online, creating a critical gap in patient care and dollars leaving the practice,” Tom Burke, chief executive officer of ABB Optical Group, said. “Abby is unique and will improve the entire ordering process for the patient and the doctor. This will ensure that the doctor-patient relationship stays at the center and all sales through Abby are on behalf of the doctor. "We are honored to have our pilot group on board, ready to experience the future of eyecare. Unlike other companies in the industry, Abby only exists to support practices and their patients,” Burke said. Abby will be the only platform of its kind that is free for providers, includes free shipping to the patient, and provides a convenient contact lens ordering experience for patients from all major manufacturers. A video message from Abby can be viewed here. ABB Optical noted that a report by MKM Research indicated that consumer behavior is changing, with now 59 percent of patients buying contact lenses online, as opposed to 28 percent pre-COVID, which makes convenient online ordering critical to keeping patient care with their practice. Labor shortages are also impacting practice performance with over 60 percent of small business owners reporting that hiring and retaining top talent is the No. 1 challenge for businesses. Abby is not just a system; she is a virtual staff member who was designed to help the practice tackle today’s biggest challenges, according to the announcement. Dr. Michael Weigle of St. Charles, Mo., who is among the ODs now pilot testing Abby, offered a positive review of the new platform. “After placing my orders this week, I found the platform to be very intuitive and easy to use,” he said. “I appreciate the instant notifications on order status. We think it’s going to be really helpful for our patients and the practice.” Doctors who are interested in meeting Abby, can visit the site here for a formal introduction from Abby.