Optical industry changes
If you are part of the generation who started in optics in the 70s or 80s, you will have seen all this change take place. If you’ve started practising more recently you may not recall a time when the optical industry was less crowded. Back in the days when there were fewer training establishments for ECPs, when supermarkets had yet to open up optical practices, patients were less informed too. Shopping around involved walking from practice to practice with a prescription, and having a conversation with a member of staff. This ensured that patients always got advice alongside a new pair of specs. It also gave the practitioner a chance to build trust and develop a relationship, something that is missing if the person is simply comparing prices for frames and lenses online.
In the past, people were dependent on specialist advice from an opticians they trusted. Patients stuck with one practice and returned on a regular basis, with far less risk of them shopping around. Sadly, this is no longer automatically the case. From the advent of the supermarket dispensary, the availability of ready readers in many stores, and online frame and lens sales, patients now have many ways to obtain spectacles.
However, this doesn’t have to spell doom and gloom for the independent ECP with a bricks and mortar practice. Adapting to the challenges created by high-street chains and supermarkets is easier said than done, so that’s why we’re here to help through our Optical Industry Advice