Following on the heels of a busy Black Friday shopping season, December is also a busy retail month. As an independent optometric office, there are a number of ways to meet the needs of the consumers during this season of giving.

Many offices offer a BOGO on lenses for patients throughout the year. What about offering a Buy One Gift One for the month of December? This could be particularly effective for sunglasses. Keep the rules fairly simple. For this promotion, the office can allow a customer to purchase one pair for themselves and one for another person.

The goal with any BOGO is two-fold; you want to move as much inventory as you can as this allows you to get better discounts from your suppliers. You also want happy customers! If consumers are able to get all their needs met at your location, there will be no need to shop elsewhere.

Keep in mind too that many people simply haven’t thought of buying something from their optometrist as a gift for someone else before. There are lots of possibilities! Gift certificates are the most versatile. Recipients can use it for anything from contact lenses to new glasses.  Make one up and display it at check out so that patients know that this is a possibility. Also consider offering the gift certificates at a discount. Everyone loves it when their gift giving money can be stretched a little further! And you are guaranteed a sale in the new year.

Think about the check out at any retail location you visit this month and consider implementing some of their ideas. For instance, most offices carry drops, vitamins, contact lens solution, cleaning clothes and cleaning spray. These all make great stocking stuffers or Secret Santa gifts! Put a few together in a clear gift bag with a pretty Christmas bow on a counter. Patients will thank you for the ideas!

In fact, it is also a great time of year to thank patients for their loyalty and business. Consider offering a small gift with purchase throughout this month. For example, our orthodontist gives away $5.00 Indigo gift cards at every visit.

Of course, December marks the end of their benefits period for many consumers. It is helpful to remind patients to use their benefits before they reset in January. If you have a large television in your office, this is the perfect place to inform patients of all your December promotions, including a Use it or Lose it reminder.

This is a month when many people are looking for ideas for gift giving. Help your patients by displaying some ideas and take the opportunity to give back as well.

Kelly Hrycusko

Kelly Hrycusko

is the co-founder and managing partner of Simple Innovative Management Ideas (SIMI) Inc. and expert Practice Management contributor for Optik magazine. She can be reached at info@simiinc.com.