Good News and Bad News for Independent Tulsa Eye Doctors

April 22, 2022
James Ashford

Consolidation is a trend shaping many industries, including optometry. Competition from large chains and online retailers is a significant challenge for independent optometrists. However, the consolidation creates a market with unique opportunities for Tulsa eye doctors and independent eye doctors nationwide who are willing to focus on what makes them stand out.

Consolidation is creating a multi-faceted challenge

Online retailers and large chains have several significant advantages.

Real estate and marketing footprint

Mergers and acquisitions have resulted in major optical retailers taking over market shares. These chains often have a strong presence with thousands of brick-and-mortar stores.

These stores are highly visible. As a result, they contribute to increased awareness of these brands. Plus, large retailers often invest in marketing campaigns to advertise deals designed to get customers in the door.

Volume and costs

Online retailers and practices in big-box stores have a large enough customer base to lower their costs. In some cases, these retailers also belong to the same corporation as the product manufacturer, so they benefit from lower inventory costs. It can be challenging for eye doctors in Tulsa and nationwide to compete for pricing without these same advantages.

In addition, the current regulatory environment can be challenging, especially for products like lenses that require thorough documentation. While independent practices work hard to meet these requirements, online retailers often get away with cost-cutting practices.

So it’s more important than ever for Tulsa eye doctors and independent optometrists across the country to shop around for inventory discounts and look into other cost-management strategies.

The convenience factor

Major retailers are changing the buying experience. With locations inside big-box stores or malls, getting an eye exam becomes another errand consumers can include in a shopping trip.

And with the rise of online retailers, consumers can order lenses and eyewear at home, a trend that became even more popular during the pandemic.

A growing market

Despite large retailers gaining market shares, the good news for eye doctors in Tulsa and other cities is that optometry is a growing market. Sales increased by 16.5% during Q1 2021 as the industry started recovering from the pandemic.

Multiple factors are creating a higher demand for vision care:

  • The population is aging. There are currently 46 million people over 65, and this number could reach 90 million by 2050.
  • Everyone is getting more screentime. Unfortunately, this habit may cause nearsightedness and reduce focus flexibility, even among children and young adults.
  • There is a growing awareness that vision care matters. As a result, more people focus on preventive care with regular exams.

Opportunities for Tulsa eye doctors and optometrists nationwide

Independent Tulsa eye doctors and independent optometrists nationwide are at a disadvantage in several areas compared to online retailers and major chains. However, this changing market also creates some unique opportunities for smaller practices.

While online retailers and major chains can offer convenience, they often neglect the human factor. With online shopping, patients can go through the entire process of ordering lenses or getting new glasses without any human contact. This experience can feel impersonal. These consumers also miss out on the valuable advice that an optometrist could share.

Major chains offer in-person interactions. However, these chains often focus on numbers. As a result, the overall encounter can be impersonal and fail to make people feel valued.

As an independent optometrist, you can offer a much better experience by focusing on customer service. For example, reaching out to customers for follow-up care will add value to your services and help improve patient outcomes. You can also offer a more personalized experience by taking the time to ask a few questions to tailor your advice.

Stand out with Vision Care Direct

You can also make your practice stand out with the prepaid-vision plans you accept. And as many prepaid-vision providers reduce their reimbursement rates, it’s more important than ever for independent Tulsa eye doctors to partner with the right plan providers.

With Vision Care Direct of Oklahoma, you can join a network of over 600 providers dedicated to offering outstanding customer experience and excellent care. Find out more about partnering with Vision Care Direct.

Email Summary:

If you’re an independent optometrist, competition from large chains and online retailers is a great challenge. However, consolidation is creating a market with opportunities for #Tulsaeyedoctors and nationwide independent eye doctors who are willing to focus on what makes them unique: customer service and personalization. Read on to learn more.

Not sure where to get started with recommending self-funded plans? Vision Care Direct of Oklahoma is pre-paid plan provider with and extensive of specialists who deliver eye care in Tulsa and nationwide with excellent value for employers and plan recipients.

Find out more about our self-funded plans and other flexible options.

Let's Talk About You

Let us know if you have any questions or if you’d like to chat.

Popular blog posts

Top 5 KPIs to Track When Assessing Plan Performance and Satisfaction

Top 5 KPIs to Track When Assessing Plan Performance and Satisfaction

As a broker, you need to maintain a diverse product portfolio so you can help companies build packages adapted to their needs and budgets. Tracking these 5 key performance indicators when comparing plans will help you better identify the ones that are more likely to...

How to Get Discounts on Frames and Discontinued Lines

How to Get Discounts on Frames and Discontinued Lines

Eyewear and contact lenses are vital to the optometry field. Keeping this in mind, doctors should be aware of the purchase costs of these goods to boost their revenue. Frame reps make commissions on sales, so they’re incentivized to sell as much as possible, but are...

Designing a Modern Optometry Practice

Designing a Modern Optometry Practice

One question that optometrists should consider is, “When patients walk into your optometry office, how do you want them to feel?” Naturally, patients desire comfortable, welcoming, and modern environments, as these characteristics put them at ease. Therefore,...

November 2022: Native American Heritage Month

November 2022: Native American Heritage Month

Native American Heritage Month celebrates a rich culture and educates people about issues unique to the Native American community. It’s an opportunity to draw attention to health issues that disproportionately affect Native Americans. It’s a group that is at higher...

Top 3 Reasons to Work with Smaller Plan Providers

Top 3 Reasons to Work with Smaller Plan Providers

In the healthcare benefits industry, brokers are essential in helping small businesses find plans. Smaller companies might not have the resources or experience to do thorough research into the options available. Fortunately, there are brokers who understand that...

3 Signs It’s Time to Review and Upgrade Your Benefits Package

3 Signs It’s Time to Review and Upgrade Your Benefits Package

A routine inventory of your benefits package can tell you where you may be able to reduce spending and, equally importantly, can also ensure that it continues to meet the needs of employees. That’s why Vision Care Direct of Oklahoma recommends reviewing your benefits...

October 2022: Breast Cancer Awareness Month

October 2022: Breast Cancer Awareness Month

It’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month. You might be wondering about the link with vision health. The truth is that a simple eye exam can sometimes detect early signs of cancer. Breast cancer can result in metastasis. When cancer cells break away from the main tumor, they...

Understanding the Ins and Outs of the Vision Plans You Accept

Understanding the Ins and Outs of the Vision Plans You Accept

For eye doctors in Tulsa OK, as well as other states, a regular review of the plans you’re currently accepting, and their ins and outs, is something you should be doing. By understanding the vision plans you accept, you can better identify how you are paid and the...

Top Strategies for Helping Plan Providers Meet Their Goals

Top Strategies for Helping Plan Providers Meet Their Goals

When trying to reduce healthcare spending, employers who offer employee benefits in the state of Oklahoma, as well as anywhere else, should be aware of one fact: there are options available that don’t increase the costs to employees via high deductibles. As a broker,...

Rethinking How You Offer Value Part 3: Build Digital Connections

Rethinking How You Offer Value Part 3: Build Digital Connections

The pandemic has sped up the digital transformation. Many professionals are embracing the virtual world because they realize connections matter. We've been sharing tips about how to rethink the way you offer value as a broker who offers plans accepted by an...

eGuide: Top 10 Ways Vision Care Direct Makes a Broker’s Job Easier

eGuide: Top 10 Ways Vision Care Direct Makes a Broker’s Job Easier

Top 10 Ways eGuide - Vision Care Direct Makes a Broker’s Job EasierOur eGuide is chocked full of ways Vision Care Direct can simplify working with a vision plan.  When you quote a vision plan certainly you are looking at the price and size of the network, and so is...

Search blog posts