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VSP Retail: A Strategic Move to Secure (Continued) Patient Access for VSP Network Doctors

By Gordon Jennings, OD March 12, 2019

As you’ve been hearing (and reading) over the past several months, our industry is shifting, and VSP Global® needs to adapt to serve both our members and VSP network doctors in mutually beneficial ways. We recently announced that we will be opening three Eyeconic® locations in Chicago this year, and launching VSP Ventures, which is focusing on providing doctors with a care-focused choice for doctors looking to transition their practices. I understand that you may have questions about these decisions and wanted to share some of the reasons why I, and my peers on the VSP Global Board of Directors, support the direction of VSP’s developing strategy. 

While private practice is stronger than ever, our patients and the world around them are changing. Driven by an expectation for convenience, personalization, exceptional customer service, 24/7/365 access, and on-demand everything, market research shows 20 percent of consumers are choosing mass retailers and internet eyewear sites over private practice for their eye care and eyewear needs today. Even more so, these consumer expectations are influencing the decisions of VSP’s primary client decision-makers—the benefits managers—who are facing pressure from employees to include retail options with their benefits.

To retain these clients and continue to win new business so we can drive patients to VSP network doctors, VSP must provide substantial and sustainable retail options.

The Eyeconic store locations will be strategically located in areas that have a high concentration of out-of-network claims at optical chains, mass retailers, and internet eyewear sites, opening opportunities to attract consumers (patient opportunities) who are currently choosing mass retail over private practice and bring them into VSP network locations.

While VSP Global actively pursues its retail strategy, including owned, joint venture, and partnership opportunities, we will always lean in the direction of the doctor in our decisions.

That’s why we’re continuing to invest heavily in the Premier Program – which has delivered over $9.2 billion in revenue to participating doctors in the last five years. It’s also why we support VSP Ventures. This new business unit of VSP Global was created in response to doctors asking VSP to create a doctor-centric alternative to private equity. VSP Ventures will facilitate practice transitions for doctors looking to retire or evolve to a different model. You’re going to hear a lot more about this in the coming weeks but in the meantime, if you are interested, please reach out to our team directly at VSPVentures@vspglobal.com.

As I see it, these first few initiatives are just the starting point for continuing to deliver opportunities for doctors and value for members. We look forward to sharing more in the coming months. In the meantime, we’ve created a resource to provide additional details regarding these and future initiatives at JustTheFactsVSP.com.

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