“When we think about the future, we have to think about behavior and how people are going to react to the new norm,” Dr. Darryl Glover explains at the top of this episode. Since COVID-19 halted work, life and events as we know it, it seems like the last time the optical industry got together was at Transitions Academy back in February 2020. The opportunities to come together on a global scale to inspire and learn from each other were reduced to almost nothing. Until now. Transitions Optical has an announcement to share to help reinvigorate and unite the global optical community. Introducing, Transitions The Pulse!
Transitions® The Pulse will bring together eyecare industry professionals from over 42 countries with the first of its’ kind global virtual industry event on February 9th, 2021. “We’re gathering together to build that collective strength to help our businesses thrive and prosper in 2021,” King shares about the inspiration behind the event.
On this episode, Dr. Glover is joined by Chris King, Education Marketing Manager at Transitions Optical, and Doug Stephens, one of the world’s foremost retail industry futurists. Stephens is one of the keynote speakers for the event, and he will bring insights from his work with major retailers and brands including Google, BMW, and LVMH. Stephens is the founder of Retail Prophet and the nationally syndicated retail columnist for CBC Radio. His novels, Reengineering Retail: The Future of Selling in a Post-Digital World and The Retail Revival: Re-Imagining Business for the New Age of Consumerism are international best-sellers, and he is wrapping up his third and highly anticipated book to be released in Spring 2021 entitled Resurrecting Retail: The Future of Business in a Post-Pandemic World.
With his work with industry giants, Stephens has seen trends in larger retailers to expand digital offerings into healthcare and eyecare services. Stephens cites that over the last three years, Amazon has made nine concerted moves and acquisitions to enter and disrupt the healthcare space, most recently to open an online pharmacy. What can we glean from these trends? “When Amazon enters a category, they are incredibly disruptive,” Stephens explains. “They come in with technology, with design and systems to solve a lot of problems in that category, and they build very efficient mechanisms. [At Transitions The Pulse] we’re going to look at the impact potentially on the optometric market, but more importantly, we’re going to look at what optometrists can do to push back.”
Optometry as an industry is not alone in its reticence to change, slow innovation speed, and disinterest in self-disruption. Across nearly every industry he’s worked with, Stephens has experienced the same status quo approach – it’s simply human nature to dislike change, but now pushing outside of our comfort zone is an imperative. At Amazon quarterly meetings, they typically introduce around 25 new products, new initiatives, or new industries to enter. And to make this happen, the company puts 5,000 engineers on each action plan. Change happens and it happens fast.
Retailers for centuries were able to get by on the idea that they offered access to products, but now we live in a world where virtually anything we want can land on our doorstep without ever having to walk into a store, so retailers need to ask themselves what added value do they bring to the product? “The same is true for healthcare professionals,” Stephens explains. “As we move forward into this world where Amazon [and other large online retailers] could be your healthcare provider, the question on the minds of healthcare providers should be what added value can we bring that maybe consumers aren’t aware of. How can we celebrate that? How can we communicate that? How can we bolster our position in the market by talking more about that?” Creating and sharing great content and telling a meaningful story that resonates and is valued by our patients is the key.
“Advertising alone is not going to be enough,” Stephens cautions eyecare providers. “Your store, your clinic – that is your most powerful form of media.” If a patient’s in-office experience is excellent, there is nothing that an online retailer can do to disrupt that relationship. Stephens is a big believer that the office experience is eyecare’s strongest form of advertising to keep patients loyal to your practice. Building a unique brand and keys for offering standout office experiences are just some of the insights that will be a part of Stephens’ keynote presentation at Transitions The Pulse global virtual event.
Transitions The Pulse kicks off live on 12:30 PM EST on 2/9 and will rebroadcast at 6 PM EST. In addition to the keynote presentation by Stephens, there will be sessions on protection, style, professional development, and a peak into the new Transitions® XTRActive® Polarized ™ lenses. Free ABO credits (1 hour of FL, KY, NYSSO, NC and TN State Opticianry CE Pending Approval) will be offered for U.S. attendees.
Registration is FREE and is open now at TransitionsThePulse.com. The first 1500 attendees in the U.S. to register, will receive a gift. Optometrists, opticians, retailers, manufacturers – this is an event for everyone to gather together, feel the love for eyecare and be future-focused to kick off 2021. See you there!