IDOC actively shares industry-focused articles, blog posts, podcasts, videos and other thought leadership with our members and other optometric practitioners. Below, you will find links to our growing library of educational materials and multi-media assets written and created by IDOC's team of seasoned industry experts.
Susan Daly | 3/26/2024
Optical Inventory Management: How To Incorporate Eyewear Trends Into Your Optical Practice

Why Eyewear Trends Matter: 

1. Fashion Statements: Eyewear has transcended its functional purpose to become a fashion accessory. People now choose frames that complement their outfits and reflect their individuality. Keeping up with the latest trends allows you to offer patients a wide range of options to express themselves. 

2. Patient Satisfaction: Today's consumers are more informed and trend-conscious than ever before. They seek eyewear that not only enhances their vision but also aligns with their fashion sensibilities. By staying abreast of trends, you can cater to these preferences, leading to increased patient satisfaction and loyalty. 

3. Business Growth: Incorporating popular eyewear trends can drive sales and boost profitability. Trendy frames attract attention, drawing more patients to shop the optical and increasing capture rate. Moreover, offering trendy options can encourage repeat business as patients return annually to update their eyewear collection with the latest styles. 

How to Incorporate Eyewear Trends into Your Optical Inventory: 

1. Regular Trend Analysis: Keep a close eye on fashion magazines, social media platforms, and industry publications to identify emerging eyewear trends. Attend trade shows and exhibitions to stay updated with the latest designs and innovations in the eyewear industry. Talk with sales reps from top-selling brands regularly and review their most popular styles. Download and review annually updated trend reports from Selin Olmsted Studio. 

2. Diversified Inventory: Stock a diverse range of frames that cater to different tastes and preferences. From classic designs to bold statement pieces, offer a variety of options to appeal to a wide patient-base. Keep your optical inventory updated with the latest trends, rotating out-of-season styles to make room for new arrivals. Remember to incorporate color. Bold frames may not be the top-sellers, but they will help sell everything else by drawing attention.

3. Educate Your Staff: Train your staff to be knowledgeable about eyewear trends and styling tips. Equip them with the skills to assist patients in selecting frames that suit their face shape, skin tone, and personal style. Hire salespeople from eyewear fashion stores like Sunglass Hut and Solstice Sunglasses. Outfit staff with “practice-pairs”, prescription or plano frames that can be worn while they work. Encourage staff members to stay updated with the latest trends through regular training sessions and workshops. Webinars are a great resource, kick off your trend training by attending Selin Olmstead’s webinar on June 6th Selin Olmsted Studio - Quarterly Trend Webinar.  

4. Create Trend-Focused Displays: Showcase trending eyewear prominently in your store displays. Create themed displays that highlight seasonal trends or feature popular celebrity-inspired styles. Use visual merchandising techniques to draw attention to trendy frames and encourage impulse purchases. Identify the feature wall of your optical, usually the wall directly opposite the front door or seating area. Rotate the display regularly remembering not to display anything you don’t sell. Hint: No seasonal décor like trees or hearts please.  

5. Online Marketing: Take advantage of e-commerce platforms to allow your patients to browse your selection from home. Also consider incorporating key words on your website to increase your SEO and draw in more local customers who are looking for fashion frames. 

Incorporating eyewear trends into your optical inventory is essential for staying relevant in today's market, critical to driving frame turnover, and will excite your staff and your patients, driving sales. Eyewear has always been a statement piece, reflecting personal style as well as serving a corrective function. For today’s optical to compete, it must, however begrudgingly, stay updated on the trends. A functional and fashionable approach is crucial to satisfying patients and staying ahead in this competitive market.  

If you need help staying on top of trends and keeping your optical running smoothly, IDOC’s Practice Development Managers are a fantastic resource. With their expert knowledge, they can point you in the right direction and consult on the best optical inventory management options to help you run and grow your practice.  

"Remaining relevant as an independent eyecare provider isn't just about keeping up with trends; it's about preserving our commitment to clarity, innovation, and personalized care in an ever-evolving landscape. In the realm of vision, relevance isn't an option—it's our duty to ensure every patient sees their world clearly." 

-Susan Daly 

Susan Daly
Director, Optical Strategy & Development
After attending Philadelphia College of Textiles and Sciences, Susan studied branding abroad at the University of Westminster and earned her bachelor’s degree in Fashion Merchandising Management from the Fashion Institute of Technology. She spent the first part of her career working with large retailers before shifting her focus to eyewear, serving as the Regional Trainer for Solstice Sunglasses and Buyer for Cohen’s Fashion Optical. Susan started her own business in 2009 and sold it in 2016 to return to Connecticut and begin serving IDOC members as the Optical Management Consultant then Manager of Strategic Partnerships. Susan works closely with the industry’s largest and most influential frame manufacturers to provide value and service to the independent where they need it most.
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