Frame Board Reality: The quickest way to lose a fortune and how to fix it!

by | Jan 10, 2022 | Business Management, Merchandising

How do you manage your frame boards? If you’re not using modern technology, you’re probably not doing as well as you think.

Frame sales are potentially the biggest revenue driver in your optical. Nothing beats a finely-tuned frame board. When your merchandising options are perfectly tailored to your plans, your patient base, and your bottom line, it can change everything. 

Inventory Management Mysteries

Your frame inventory management can feel like a “black box,” an impenetrable mystery. It’s complex, with a lot of moving parts, and conflicting influences – your sales reps, your patients, fashion magazines and current trends. Even social media can come into play. Then there’s the technical details, like billing sweet spots and price points. And what about reporting and analysis? Digging the sales details out of your practice management system and calculating sell-through can be highly challenging as well.

There are so many questions that have to be answered about frame merchandising. Are you choosing the right styles? Is your markup strategy right? What do your patients pay out of pocket for their frames? What frame lines should you keep, and which ones should you get rid of right away? 

You might think that managing your frames smartly means you have to think like Einstein, flex like a yoga master, and juggle like a Vaudeville star. You might even think it’s just too much to worry about, and you should just make your best guess and take your chances. But did you ever think about what could happen if your frames aren’t managed well?

What’s the Worst That Could Happen?

Unfortunately, even experienced optical managers and owners can find it difficult to stay on top of all the aspects of expert frame management. It’s easy to lose track of the details and find yourself behind the eight-ball. Every day that under-performing or mispriced frames are taking up space on your board, hundreds or even thousands of dollars might be walking out the door in missed sales.

I remember the first time it became really clear to me how important frame management is. I was sitting in on a practice review with our COO, Evan Kestenbaum, back when I first started working with GPN Technologies. Evan walked the doctor through a detailed analysis on three separate eyewear sales – chosen at random by the doctor. In two of the three eyewear orders, it turned out that the doctor had actually lost money, over $20, on the frame sale. I was stunned, but not as surprised as the doctor. I’m sure he was asking himself the hard question, “How often does this happen, and how much am I losing every month?” 

Since then, I’ve worked with dozens of practices, and I’ve seen the same thing multiple times. Eye care, especially optical, is really challenging to break down and evaluate. Billing complexities, lab and vendor documentation, and the medical aspect of practice just make it hard – and confusing. That’s a fact. 

Analyzing your frame sales can take hours of your valuable time, picking the important details out of your optical invoices, compiling spreadsheets, planning your board strategies, dissecting your frame turnover. It gets even more complicated when you consider the impact of trends and fashions, pricing structures for managed care, and sorting out the sales pitches of your various frame sales reps. What should you buy? At what price? How many?

When frame inventories get out of control, strange things can happen. Have you heard horror stories about boxes of unused frames gathering dust in cabinets, or stuffed under tables in the back room? Chances are good that you have, if you’ve been ‘in the game’ for very long. (Or maybe it’s your practice?) One of my teammates, who worked in practice consulting for several years, was astonished to discover more than 3,000 frames languishing in boxes and stashed in every conceivable cubby hole in an office that was struggling with this very issue. Think about all the revenue that can be tied up in excess inventory!

There Has to Be a Better Way

What if there was a tool that would show you the details of your frame sales and help you analyze your frame board performance in just a few minutes of your time? Imagine the freedom and control if you could get that critical information without sacrificing the valuable time you should be spending with your patients and building your business.

Think about how you might make your choices differently if you knew the answers to these questions:

  • Which frames are selling best in my practice?
  • What’s the average frame price in my area?
  • What’s the average frame price in my office?
  • How often do I turn over my entire frame board? 
  • What’s the average sell-through on each of my frame lines?
  • Which “fully covered” frames do my managed care patients choose most often?

Would you change how you order your frames? Or maybe you’d change your markup strategy, or dump a low-performing frame line. The bottom line is, you don’t know how this information can change your frame playbook until you have it. You have to know; not knowing means you’re just – at best – guessing what you should do about your frame inventory.

One of our clients said it best. Dr. Aaron Werner has been an EDGEPro user for years, and he’s convinced about its importance. “Too many [practitioners] make emotional decisions about which frames to buy and which Managed Care Plans to take without ever looking at the actual data. EDGEPro provides accurate and comprehensive data and analysis. I look at it almost daily, as does our staff. . . Bottom line, we are more profitable.”

We think every practice should have the advantage of good, solid information to help them make smart choices about important things like frame inventory. That’s why we created EDGEPro. 

EDGEPro software does all the work of collecting your data and focusing on the critical metrics that matter most to your bottom line. It helps you make those vital decisions quickly and – more importantly – correctly.

You can use EDGEPro to find the answers to all of your most important frame questions.

In just a few mouse clicks, you’ll be able to see what frames are selling best and generating the most revenue in your practice, so you can make smart choices and changes quickly and accurately. The reports will help you do a full frame board analysis in less time than it takes to balance your checkbook.

  • Use the dashboards in EDGEPro to see exactly what your private pay and managed care patients are choosing.
  • View your sales team’s performance on frame sales quickly and easily.
  • Find out how many of your patients are opting to re-use their existing frames.
  • EDGEPro helps you see what your practice is doing for frame sales, but it also helps you see what the practices around you are doing, and how yours stacks up.

 EDGEPro Makes the Difference

Practices that use EDGEPro, like Dr. Jennifer Stewart’s, are able to not only control, but optimize their frame inventory, as well as other product choices. She’s a long-time user, and a true fan.  “We have been users of The EDGE since it was the EDGE 2.0. We use EDGEPro to track every metric. I meet with the optical team throughout the month to look at frame and lens sales, sunglass sales and patients own frame numbers. I track contact lens sales and year supplies and work with the doctors in our practice on verbiage to make sure this is happening. We track the percentage of new patients and one of my staff is in charge of tracking where new patients come from. We use the EDGEPro metrics for frame board management and allocate spaces based on our sales. We continue to have stellar growth every month and know it is because we are seeing what we are doing!” 

Smart business intelligence is a must-have tool for modern practice management. You need every advantage you can get to make your practice as lean and strong as it can be. A strong-performing frame inventory should, literally, be the top contributor to your profitability. You don’t need to guess about what’s best for your business. And you really shouldn’t.

Sooner is Better – Try EDGEPro Free for 90 Days

Don’t wait until the next quarter, or next month, or even next week. Every day could mean cash walking out the door instead of making it to your bottom line. EDGEPro can give you the tools you need to wrangle in an unruly frame board and turn it into a revenue machine. We’ll give you 90 days of EDGEPro for free, just to prove it. Enroll today. Take 90 days to find out what good business intelligence can do for your frames – and your practice. You can try all the great frame management tools, find out which frame lines are helping and which are not, make some smart, well-informed choices, and watch your optical revenue start to pick up. If you don’t have time to run a full analysis of your metrics, let our team give you a hand with a free business analysis. We’ll help you get started and get a plan in place.

By Yvonne Pelkey, LDO, ABO, NCLE-AC

Yvonne was recognized as both Optician of the Year by the Opticians Association of Virginia and Most Influential Women in the Optical Industry.


Share This