Latest Coastal Contacts News Makes Eyeconic That Much More Critical for Private Practice

By Daniel L. Mannen, OD, FAAO October 28, 2011

I grew up in eastern Oregon where we often experienced afternoon thunderstorms.  First, you could feel the wind, then the temperature would drop, and finally the rain would come.  This is exactly how I would characterize the acceleration in online optical sales. I think we can feel the online wind; I am certain the temperature has dropped; and the rain is starting to fall. More and more prescriptions are leaving our dispensaries for online offerings and comparison shopping is as easy as a few clicks. This is why VSP has launched Eyeconic as an internet solution for the private-practice doctor.

Coastal Contacts, which is based in Vancouver, B.C., recently reported that in Q3 2011 they served 620,000 customers in the U.S.and achieved over $50 million in eyewear sales. Just this past week, Coastal Contacts purchased, which sells directly to consumers in the U.S.  Clearly, online suppliers are ramping up for rapidly increasing sales.

Our patients are flooded with compelling advertising, coupons, and offers. There is no question that our "brick-and-mortar" dispensaries are under assault and that our value proposition is being threatened. So, what is the private practitioner to do? 

Before the horse is completely out of the barn, we need an offering that will appeal to those patients who have decided to shop online. We also must educate our patients regarding the need for  proper fit, lens quality, and functionality. We know that patients do much better when their prescription is personalized for their unique vision requirements. So, for the patient who has chosen to shop online, we need to be able to direct them to a trusted site and to maintain our connection for continuing service.

As I see it, Eyeconic will allow private-practice doctors the opportunity to have a continuing connection with their patients by providing an online optical alternative.

To learn more about Eyeconic, be sure and attend our next webcast on November 30, 2011, at 8 a.m. or 5:30 p.m. Pacific Time (10 a.m. or 7:30 p.m. Central Time). Register now.

***Update, April 2015***
To meet evolving consumer demands, improvements are continually being made to the shopping experience. For consumers who wish to shop online, we want to offer the choice and convenience they expect from an online store as well as the confidence that they’re supported by the expert service and care of a VSP network provider. Please feel free to call 1-855-393-2664 or email for more information about these changes.

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