20/20 Vision – 10 Wacky Ideas for Opticians

February 10th, 2007   •   22 comments   

Two out of three in my family wears specs!

I’ve never revealed it before, but I am a closet consultant. I love to provide business and marketing advice to people. After so many years working with entrepreneurs, media, lifestyle and tourism businesses, I do have some thoughts welling in my head. Whether they take it or not is another thing altogether of course.

Let’s start with the optical business. It is a booming business, with 80% of adult Singaporeans being shortsighted and us having one of the highest myopia rates in the world. What can opticians (like eastcoastlife‘s hubby Chris) do to make themselves stand out clearly from the competition?

1) Do something superlative. Create Singapore’s (or the World’s) largest pair of contact lenses and put it somewhere prominently outside your shop. Or the largest vision testing chart and hang it somewhere.

2) Provide a FREE but VALUED service. This is related to goodwill. For example, you can have free eye tests, spectacles adjusting service, screw replacement services, glass cleaning and so on. Make it known that you DON’T have to be a customer to enjoy this, and it will be done without any obligations. Of course, there may be freeloaders, but trust me, the goodwill will be worth it.

3) Share information that will help your customers. The best way to do this is probably through blogging. Little nuggets on how you can take care of your eyes, exercises that you can do, eye-friendly diets, latest trends in four-eyed fashions and so on.

4) Sponsor or organise an optical related events that are truly radical. For example, “Miss Bespectacled Singapore” (inspired by Dove’s Real Beauty campaign), or “Eyes that sparkle”, or even a “Most Improved Vision” contest.

5) Keep in touch with your customer AFTER the sale. Get their contacts and give them a call thereafter on how their spectacles or contact lenses fit, do they need any adjustments, can they see more clearly now etc.

6) Get your customer interested in the “Making Of” process. How do your manufacturers come up with a frame for glasses? What goes into the grinding of new lenses? Again, this can be covered in a blog (maybe visionary.blogspot.com ;)).

7) Serve them a drink and maybe some carrot sticks (eye friendly foods) ;). Invest in a couple of Osim massage chairs so that they can be comfortable while waiting. Spectacles and contact lenses are not cheap consumables. They can easily cost hundreds or more, comparable to lower-priced jewellery. As these are high value customers, perhaps more attention could be paid to make sure that their experience is exquisite rather than excruciating.

8) Theme your shop with different corners for different customer groups. Sections can be imaginatively named like “Metrosexual Male”, “Sophisticated Urbanite”, “Outdoor Adventurer”, “Active Boy or Girl”, etc. Have some photographs to show the context of how certain frames can match certain outfits. Currently, most optical shops are entirely product focused, with a gazillion frames and bottles of contact lense solutions everywhere.

9) Up the hip quotient by using famous bespectacled celebrities, like Harry Potter (or Daniel Radcliffe, though lately he was more famous for something naughtier). Even Kylie Minogue and David Beckham looked cool with glasses.

10) Most importantly (and I am sure eastcoastlife herself knows this) is that your customer should have FUN. Don’t make going to the optician like seeing a doctor or worst a dentist. Offer little drawings for kids to doodle, or adults to practice their eyes on optical illusion puzzles. A little humour doesn’t hurt anyone, and I think frazzled Singaporeans certainly need that.

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  1. Benjamin Koe
    posted on Feb 10, 2007 at 6:12 AM

    If this optician exists, I’m going there! Maybe one other suggestion could be to try and segregate the market–appeal to a certain demographic. Services such as hairdressing range from the affordable to the high-end, but I feel that opticians lack that identity. Which ever optician i walk into doesn’t feel more “classy” than the other. And we all do know that the perception of class really matters to Singaporeans.

  2. posted on Feb 10, 2007 at 7:07 AM

    Agreed. All I see in some optical shops now are the different CNY decorations.

  3. posted on Feb 10, 2007 at 8:54 AM

    I need to make a clarification – my husband Christopher is an Optometrist, not an optician!!!!!!

    We do provide certain free valued services and free eye screenings for charity events. We do assessment, diagnosing and problem solving for individual needs. Each comprehensive eyecheck takes at least 20 minutes. Visual correction is only part of the eye examination. It is very personalised. Consultation by appointment is appreciated.

    Our practice is not classy, we emphasized on clinical proficiency.

    For any blogger friends, I will give you VIP prices and lots of fun, professionalism not compromised!

  4. posted on Feb 10, 2007 at 8:55 AM

    Oh, Walter, I emailed you but you didn’t replied. That was more than a week ago.

  5. posted on Feb 10, 2007 at 10:10 AM


    Thanks for clarifying over the difference between an optometrist and an optician. I am still not very clear but I am sure it has something to do with the levels of treatment and professionalism.

    Oops sorry I didn’t email then as I was saving up for a blogpost which is probably more interactive (hehe). I also hope to visit you and Chris one of these days. My bus stop home is just outside Adelphi.

  6. posted on Feb 10, 2007 at 12:56 PM

    Er… I need to make a clarification. ‘VIP prices’ means cheap or expensive hah?

  7. posted on Feb 10, 2007 at 6:14 PM

    “Vary in Prices”
    “Various in Prices”


    Good ideas, Cooler!

  8. posted on Feb 11, 2007 at 12:36 AM

    VIP treatment sounds good lah… Jayne, you really should share about a day in the life of an optometrist.

    I forgot to add that probably 95% of people or higher who surf the internet regularly would need vision correction aids. Bloggers and blog readers make a HUGE market. Think about it…. 😉

  9. Lam Chun See
    posted on Feb 11, 2007 at 10:49 AM

    Thanks for the marketing tips. In fact I have been planning to start a blog relating to my work but then procastination is also my specialty. Anyway look forward to lots of marketing tips from you then.

    BTW, my family is probably quite unSingaporean. Only 2 of 5 wear glasses. My youngest one is quite light still. Mine also not too bad. Got thru NS without need to use specs.

  10. posted on Feb 11, 2007 at 5:42 AM

    Oh, I did write about our practice but you might have to dig through my blog. haha…. will post some more


    Oh, thanks cool insider for the link.

  11. posted on Feb 11, 2007 at 10:08 AM

    I enjoyed reading your blog here.
    Pretty cool suff here.

    I added your link to my site as well.

    Steven Wilson

  12. posted on Feb 11, 2007 at 11:33 AM

    Very nice and informative write up.My good wishes.Thanks for your valued views on my blog.I would love to exchange links with you.

  13. posted on Feb 11, 2007 at 2:57 PM

    I like point 5 the most. A good aftersale can really impress ur customers and keep them longer.in fact, this applies to all trades of business. Too bad, its often neglected.

    Walter, did EastCoastLife pay u the consultation fee?? Claim a free frame from her instead. =P

    Haha.. my parents hv perfect eyesights but me n my sibllings, we all hv to read wif the aid of glasses, by-product of too many story-books, TV programmes & computer games.

  14. posted on Feb 12, 2007 at 1:24 PM

    Chun See,

    I am very sure that you would have a lot to share about productivity and quality from your years of experience in NPB. It also lends great credibility to your reputation as a consultant. If you do that, I will definitely link to you. 😉

  15. posted on Feb 12, 2007 at 1:25 PM


    Yah hor, aiyah…. Wasted an opportunity to make some money. I guess perhaps sometimes ideas may be easier than actual implementation and execution, though I must state that I certainly have a lot of hands on experience too!

  16. posted on Feb 12, 2007 at 1:26 PM


    Thanks for popping by and hope to see you here often!

  17. posted on Feb 07, 2010 at 9:37 PM

    Interesting Advice!
    Thanks for providing marketing tips.
    I think choosing an Optician who is able to provide a wide range of services is beneficial. Hope to follow these informative tips if necessary.

  18. posted on Feb 08, 2010 at 8:56 PM

    How frequently we need to go for eye test depends on our age and the condition of our eye. For a young adult with normal vision, taking a test once, say very 7 years, is ok, while we are in your 20s and 30s. If, however, we have had eye problems in the family, maybe we ought to be more careful. Sight is one of the most important things we possess that is why it’s crucial that we do everything we can to look after our eyes.

  19. posted on Apr 23, 2010 at 10:59 AM

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  20. Alex Mart
    posted on Mar 28, 2013 at 10:07 AM

    I often have the lenses on my frames updated to go with my newest prescription. Just changing the lenses isn’t all that expensive. It’s funny because I really don’t think

    that much about comfort with my frames. It’s never occurred to me but of course it’s important. Glad you liked the post!

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  21. posted on Feb 27, 2014 at 11:15 AM

    I have read this blog, and also found many useful information’s from this blog. Thanks a lot for sharing.

  22. posted on Oct 25, 2016 at 5:06 PM

    This is a very helpful article, and has given me some fresh ideas, thank you!

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