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Online Shopping Solution will provide greater longevity for practices in the future

March 2014

Bob Hutchinson takes a look at the trending facility of online optical sales, the opportunities that this could bring to Independent Practices and the threats that will put them under pressure if the new and fast rising internet experience is not adopted by them.† He reviews the turnkey solution provided by OptiCommerce shown at a recent exhibition and also to be demonstrated at Optrafair London, next month.

Ocuco, the largest provider of IT solutions for optical practices worldwide having partnered with OptiCommerce and have now designed and built a comprehensive e-commerce solution that can be adopted quickly and efficiently by any independent optician.

Each individual website is unique in branding and design and yet quickly built to a customerís specification from a standard framework and either connected directly to their Ocuco PMS system or standalone on their own portal in order to provide the practices services and products on the web to new and existing patients. In other words the OptiCommerce solution will provide website sales to any practice regardless of the PMS system currently used.

This allows independent opticians to quickly deploy a full e-commerce solution selling Spectacles, Contact Lenses and more directly on the web with easy maintenance which Ocuco can provide as required.

OptiCommerce designer and also the newly appointed Director at Ocuco, Andy Chance Hill, explains in his U-tube presentation how this opportunity will help practices grow in the new sales environment which now must include an online presence. Practice longevity will be underpinned by its past & current success by new growth and that is the key task of OptiCommerce.

With the dramatic rise in online retail traffic, there is a need for patients and customers to review what is on offer before committing to make an appointment.† With the sales opportunities that can now exist outside normal business hours Opticians need to offer greater flexibility and increased contact online as well as on the high street.† Practices need to act fast and be first before other online retailers start to encroach on their sales and worst still cause a drift of patients leaving the practice database to purchase† and remain elsewhere.† Having oneís own online website protects practices from seeing a reduction in their core customers that they have spent years building up.
OptiCommerce took 5 years to design and build this product in order to provide a unique independent branding. 50 websites are either live or under construction and the design has allowed viewing on the hoof on tablet, android as well as PC.

Creating a brochure website is the first step in creating your own shop window online, and then by adding products, customers can see what is available in store.† You donít have to allow ďa buy on line abilityĒ immediately (or ever, for certain products) but the brochure pages allow new patients a glimpse of how your practice works.

Obviously the more products practices list for online purchase the better as it provides an open 24/7 shopping experience.

The design has been made simple to use by the practice and patients and customers are emailed to confirm purchase, as is the practice. So you could arrive on Monday morning to a bunch of orders made over the weekend break.

Typically contact lenses can be reordered as replacements by the patient or they can buy frames or frames with lenses.† Their RX can be typed in or if registered with an optician extracted online from the practices secure database.

Patients can verify the progress of any order if information is manually updated by the practice as the order progresses and an order can be sent direct to contact lens suppliers after payment has been received, with goods returned direct to the patient and an invoice to the practice.

Flexibility in the system allows opticians to choose what they do and what their OptiCommerce package does for them.

Patients can also book appointments through a linked OptiCommerce with Focus 2 and Acuitas on line, so they can decide on a live system what times best suit them. Practices can choose what parts of diary are exposed to patients at any time and block out and mask dates retained for other needs.
PMS integration is key to success of OptiCommerce because it takes much of the order and confirmation stages away from the day to day business allowing practices to provide a higher level of care.

The designer and owner of OptiCommerce has for this reason partnered with Ocuco, the most successful provider of PMS systems in the UK and Ireland and indeed globally, to offer a complete solution for the modern day practice.

OptiCommerce will be demonstrating this new e-commerce solution at Optrafair London on Stand E26 as well as on the Ocuco Stand on Stand C54.

Retail Online, an alternative business driver for Opticians

prepared by

Bob Hutchinson
01787 326468

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