As we come to a close on this crazy 2020 year, what is your business plan for 2021? With the COVID cases on the rise again, there is a good chance that eyewear company sales, small and large, are going to slow down again.

As an independent eyewear store, you might wonder how typical independent eyewear stores stack up against larger corporate eyewear store chains. Understanding your strengths and weaknesses helps you market to the right customers in the right way. In general, corporate stores have some cost and brand advantages, but independent stores often score better in personalized, helpful service and higher quality eyewear frames.



One area in which corporate eyewear stores often maintain an advantage over the independent companies is in costs. Because large chains have better bargaining power with suppliers and can spread costs across all stores, they can typically offer lower-priced eyewear. However, their customer service falls. That being said, your independent store can sore above the big box stores by giving your customers/patients great customer and personalized service.


Independent stores are strong on service and personalization, where chains usually deliver a consistent level of appointments and services. You generally know what to expect if you visit a corporate chain in multiple locations. Independent eyewear companies don’t have the money for tv commercials, so they rely heavily on word of mouth referrals and need to advertise in other areas to promote their business, such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube.

Knowledge and Service

Consumers rate independent eyewear stores higher in regards to knowledge and services. Corporate stores have a harder time covering all of their human resource needs with capable receptionists and assistants. Independent stores can emphasize strong employees and a more personalized experience for their customers. Independent stores tend to emphasize the quality of service over the number of customers. And the customer experience in differentiating themselves from more standardized chain stores.


Independent stores score higher in quality of finished glasses. Because of their emphasis on costs, chain stores tend to carry standard frames and get affordable eyewear for cost-conscious customers. Independent chains emphasize higher quality and unique eyewear to go along with service in establishing differentiation from chains. All of our frames are handcrafted by Mark Dolabany himself, and our frames are made the old-fashioned way with high-quality acetate, real rivets, and multi-barrel hinges.

Stand Out from the Crowd

In order to compute profitability in 2021, you must project your major costs and how many patients you will need to cover those costs. You also must differentiate your practice from other similar nearby practices to draw new patients.

To draw in new patients, take a look at the close independent eyecare offices near you. Have you thought about “secret shopping?” Pretend to be browsing the opticals of those nearby offices and see what you can do differently to bring patients to your door instead of the competitors? Think about what you do or could offer that they don’t offer. Do they have a good selection of independent frame brands? Do they offer advanced medical eyecare screening technology? You may notice points related to customer service.  Note how attentive the staff is, and how your office could do even better in making newcomers to the office feel welcomed and appreciated.

Here’s to a great 2021 for all independent eyewear companies!

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