OPTIMIZING YOUR CLINIC'S INVENTORY MANAGEMENT
November 14, 2023
Frame inventory management is vital to the success of your optometry practice and customer satisfaction. With the right approach, you can optimize purchase costs, warranty periods, and the ability to act swiftly to changing fashion trends. It means better product availability, allowing you to respond swiftly to your customers' needs. However, striking the right balance isn't always easy. While insufficient stock drives customers away, excessive inventory can make products obsolete before being sold, rendering many expenses unnecessary.
The right approach involves closely monitoring key performance indicators and studying customer demographics. Developing a deep understanding of your base helps you forecast trends, enabling your clinic to improve product selection, inventory management, and, in turn, client satisfaction.
Rather than relying solely on personal preferences, place the customer at the heart of your decisions. Each frame considered should be thought out in terms of a target. Consider the look of the frames, the quality, and the brand image and assess if it aligns with current and potential clients. Similarly, verify the frame's compatibility with different types of vision (single, progressive, bifocal) and assess how it accommodates the shape of one's face.
To stay ahead of trends, consult fashion magazines, social networks, and specialized publications throughout Canada and the US, such as Vision Monday, Optical Prism, or 20/20 Magazine. Professional trade shows such as regional Optofairs, Vision Expo East/West, or those in Paris or Italy are also rich sources of inspiration. You can also regularly visit supplier websites.
Foster customer loyalty with a broad selection of frames that reflect buyer profiles established by industry trends and sales analyses. Provide a wide selection of sunglasses (at least 20% of your offerings) to boost sales and to ensure frames are sufficiently original. In addition, don't hesitate to explore new target markets to diversify your selection. For example, explore niche collections (i.e., eco-responsible or indigenous designers), offer choices for toddlers and children, and consider reading glasses. Lastly, consider diversifying your price points to promote children's frames and multiple-pair purchases.
The power of supplier relations
Supplier relations are a valuable lever. And while the number of rep visits matters, even more crucial is the quality of support. Such support can include display advice, so don't hesitate to ask them how to optimize your product showcase (pro tip: regularly changing your frame display helps highlight products and gives the impression that you're constantly renewing your offerings). Other value-added services may involve helping you organize special events and collection launches, offering marketing budget advice, and providing promotional material such as window displays, posters, and POS assets.
And be sure to ask about enhanced warranty and return policies to better serve your customers. Always ensure you get written confirmation containing details such as warranty duration, models covered, exchange policy, and part replacement.
For optimal management, we recommend appointing a dedicated inventory manager. Their mission will be to monitor cash flow, product renewal, and data accuracy while analyzing the performance of different frames to identify top sellers and underperformers. The inventory manager will also be responsible for coordinating inventory counts.
Inventory levels must be established based on your clinic's size, available display space, potential annual sales, and stock turnover rate. Generally, a boutique that manages its inventory well can achieve a turnover rate between 2 to 3 times a year.
If a brand isn't selling after a certain period, it's best to meet with your representative to discuss why. You can organize promotions or contests within your team to sell off your stock and better value underperforming frames.
Clinic management software such as OSI's Optosys platform (https://www.optosys.ca/) can significantly optimize orders and stock. Such software solutions simplify inventory creation, tracking, and analysis, contributing to more effective clinic management. In addition, OSI offers expert training to help you take things a step further.
Are you ready to boost your clinic's profitability while keeping customers smiling? Invest in effective inventory management today and transform your clinic into a benchmark of success and excellence!
Founded in 1982, OSI Group is a leader in developing value-added services for independent optometry clinics throughout Canada. In addition to these services, OSI Group has developed Optosys Solution, a comprehensive clinic management software dedicated to vision professionals.
Always innovating, we exist to simplify your operations, elevate the patient experience, and champion independent optometry across Canada.
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