Building and Launching an E-Commerce Store
Member Spotlight: Logan Eye Care, LLC
When the COVID-19 pandemic began, it became apparent that the optometric industry would never look the same again. Practices would need to permanently adjust the ways in which they served their patients if they wanted to not only survive, but thrive long-term. Logan Eye Care, LLC was one such practice that used their downtime as an opportunity to implement new technology as a way to connect with patients, boost revenue and ultimately, deliver better patient care.
We sat down (virtually, of course) with Carol Logan, OD to discuss the new e-commerce store that the practice recently launched.
What Got You Thinking About Adding an E-Commerce Store To Your Website?
Prior to COVID-19 we had been discussing e-commerce for the practice knowing that it would be inevitable. I had been hearing this from friends who own retail establishments for the last two years or so. Shopping online has taken over as the go-to mindset for today’s consumer, including myself. What quarantine did was give us time to create the platform for the practice.
What Background Research Went Into Selecting Which Company to Work With?
We were fortunate to have some retail colleagues coach us regarding our options. A personal referral led us to Cart Consultants and their team was immediately available to execute the on-boarding process for our site. A good bit of the research takes place when determining a template and finding what suits your practice’s culture. Stock photo and image selections can be labor intensive in order to achieve the desired consumer appeal.
How Much Work Went Into Getting the E-Commerce Store Up-and-Running?
Many hours of collaboration went into the architectural build-out, not only on the practice side but also on the consultant end. Vendor input and assistance were accessible because those teams were working remotely also. I believe the best way to approach this journey is to understand that this online world is ever-evolving and to break down the process into phases or sections (i.e. glasses/contacts/accessories). Obstacles will present themselves, and you learn to work around them as you enter these uncharted waters. Being patient and knowing that you may have to change strategies mid-stream should be expected. Research your vendors and any agreements they may require prior to executing the project. Establishing a solid plan will help as you begin the process.
When Did The E-Commerce Store Officially Launch? What Have the Results Been?
We just launched this month so I do not have any sales data to share yet. Patients’ feedback has been very positive and our goal is to take it to the next level.
The next phase we are entering is the integration and utilization of online insurance benefits into our e-commerce portal. This type of application is available to big box stores but not to independent eye care practitioners, YET. This type of platform reaches those patients who do not need or want the brick and mortar experience any longer. At present, we are working towards applying such tools to compliment our overall practice presence in the virtual world along with telemedicine.
What Advice Would You Give Other PECAA Members That Are Hoping to Launch Something Similar?
Look for a star candidate to lead your e-commerce team. Ideally this individual is not engaged with full-time patient care and will serve as an ongoing project manager with savvy social media skills and computer know-how. Having someone at the helm with a fundamental understanding of optics and contact lens parameters is essential. If you can plan category releases in a flow-like manner that occur in stages, the magnitude of the project will be less daunting. Take a deep breath, proceed in developmental phases and be patient.
To view Logan Eye Care’s e-commerce site, please visit store.loganeyecare.com.