UK experts will use Vision-X platform to share solutions for eyewear practices

UK experts will use Vision-X platform to share solutions for eyewear practices

25.11.2015: .....after financial analysis of retail weaknesses Caption: Future in Focus Experts and Entrepreneurs share

.....after financial analysis of retail weaknesses

Caption:    Future in Focus – Experts and Entrepreneurs share their wealth of knowledge and experience

Independent eyewear practices are being told to place a bigger emphasis on customer care, and use the growing power of social media, to boost their business profitability.

Dr Imran Hakim, CEO of the Hakim Group, the UK’s largest group of independent practices, says a financial analysis of hundreds of eyewear and eyecare businesses has led to the development of a seven-point plan to help independent operators capitalise on a lucrative eyewear market, which in the UAE alone is worth over $480m and rising, and will share its top recommendations in Dubai next month during a series of talks at Vision-X 2015.

The region’s biggest optical health, eyecare and eyewear business event takes place at Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC) from 6-8 December.

“With rising costs, reducing client numbers and increasing competition, the current global economic climate can make it more and more difficult for independent practices to deliver a meaningful level of profitability on the amount of time and money they spend on their practice,” said Dr Imran Hakim.

“For many practitioners, costs seem to be rising at a much greater rate than the growth of their turnover, eroding profitability and consequently the disposable income they have left in their pockets year on year.

“Having reviewed the financial statements of more than 500 practices over the past few years, it is always the same key areas that are evident where a bit of focus can literally pay great dividends – and these benefits apply equally to all practices.”

During the Future in Focus segment at Vision-X 2015, Dr Hakim and his team will highlight ways to exploit what he calls  “key insights from an independent sector trend” over the next few years.

“Practice owners are obsessed with marketing techniques for new customers, but the reality is the cost of maintaining an existing customer is one-fifth of the cost of acquiring a new one,” he said. “The first important step is to keep your existing patients happy, and we will be spotlighting ways to retain more of the existing clientele.”

“Another key is to use the power of social media, which is growing exponentially, to reach out to existing and new patients through the means of their choice.”

Partner of the Hakim Group and Founder of Mobius Tech, Ijaz Awan, also weighs in on the importance of having good customer relations, saying, “In a day and age where opticians face an online threat from one side and the large chains from the other, it is more important than ever that independent practices really turn their real estate environment into a wow customer experience that will leave patients wanting to return.”

The significance of Vision-X 2015 is highlighted by the fact that strategic regional investment in medical and healthcare services offers assured growth until 2025, and more than 4,000 trade visitors from over 80 countries are expected to do business at the show.

The event has become renowned for showcasing the latest designer sunglasses setting fashion trends, and again this year’s top brands will be revealing a wide range of new looks.

With ongoing Government commitment to optical health across the Middle East region, the Opticare Conference at Vision-X takes on special significance, offering eyecare practitioners three days of professional training, debate and hands-on skills from leading regional and international professionals. The conference is accredited by Dubai Health Authority to provide ongoing professional learning.

Guided by the Eyezone Institute of Opticianry & Private Training based in Kuwait, there will be dedicated sessions on Myopia control, low vision and key skills for working with children and the elderly, as well as a strong emphasis on the latest thinking in diagnosis and assessments.

Recognising the best designers and manufacturers in the industry, the Vision-X VP Awards will announce 15 winners at the end of the first day of the exhibition on 6 December. Acknowledging excellence in the optical business across optical care products and fashion frames, the Awards are organised in collaboration with Vision Plus, the region’s number one eyewear fashion magazine.

Katie Johnston / Sean Muir, Total Communications Dubai  also photos


25.11.2015 / MaP

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