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oldsport

Specsavers Business Model

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As a long time glasses wearer with quite a complex prescription I find the way opticians work in this country to be pretty frustrating and opaque.

Around here Specsavers charge £7.50 for a consultation. Other opticians don't charge much more. Whereas I read an article saying that the actual cost for a consultation with time to properly discuss options should be over £100 in order to cover salaries and running costs. So, presumably they have to make all the money on the glasses and contact lenses - which in turn must be well over priced.

I've read that in other countries the consultation costs much more but the glasses are much cheaper. Glasses frames must be incredibly cheap to manufacture - basically 15g of metal or plastic. I'm thinking probably less than £1.

The last few times I've had glasses made to a new prescription I've had to go back to have the prescrition altered because they don't work. Because of the business model and the need for them to get you to buy new glasses I always think they are under pressure to alter your prescription even when it still works perfectly well. I'd prefer to pay more for a consulttaion where I'm sure they are focused purely on giving me the best advice.

It seems to be a business model which is used quite a lot in this country - like having to swap insurance every year to stop your premium doubling.

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I work for an online glasses retailer (no names mentioned), we also have a store that offers eye exams and retinal photography - we do not offer free eye tests as we feel the same as you, the consultation should be where the money is spent. Saying that, we charge £30 or £60 for an advanced test, but offer a free pair of glasses as part of the exam cost.

You're right, glasses are incredibly cheap to make and provide, there's no need to pay SpecSavers/Boots/Vision Express £100+ for basic non-branded glasses. However, wages, taxes, rents and production costs must all be covered so it's impossible to offer glasses for a minimal amount. From a personal point of view, other than having an eye test, I don't understand why customers are handing over £100's for new glasses on the high street when they can be found cheaper online (£250+ for a pair of Ray-bans with basic lenses + coatings from Boots... really!?!).

You do realise you can get your glasses reglazed? ie, fit new lenses in to your own frames.

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It seems to be a business model which is used quite a lot in this country - like having to swap insurance every year to stop your premium doubling.

Seems a bit short-sighted. They obviously can't see the bigger picture.

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I suspect it works like this.

If consultations were expensive, people would have them hardly ever - and hence not change their glasses very often either. All of the opticians online and offline would be very sad.

Consultations are the loss leader to get people in through the door, and meet the nice optician/sales person. Basically it's cheap lead generation. If they were free then the system would likely be abused by people getting the free consultation (more often than they need to), and then buying their glasses online for peanuts. £10 makes you feel the consultation isn't worthless, and you're not going to get one every week because you fancy the optician behind the counter, or are a hypochondriac either. It weeds out the bad customers basically.

Finally, there's the up sell. You can only do one consultation/per person per visit. So basically a fixed profit opportunity for however long it takes. A good salesperson, however, may sell one £100 pair of glasses to a customer in 15 mins, or they might sell a couple of pairs in little extra time (you'd like a set of prescription sunglasses as well, wouldn't you?). So the glasses selling bit has the most opportunity for increasing the potential profit.

The £1 reading glasses gives you an idea of the true cost of providing mass produced glasses at the cheaper end of the spectrum. You imagine with a glasses on demand style system (like print on demand books), that even customised ones would tend towards that price over time.

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You do realise you can get your glasses reglazed? ie, fit new lenses in to your own frames.

Who by?

I have some fantastic old frames I love but no one I've found will do reglaze them.

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I suspect it works like this.

If consultations were expensive, people would have them hardly ever - and hence not change their glasses very often either. All of the opticians online and offline would be very sad.

Consultations are the loss leader to get people in through the door, and meet the nice optician/sales person. Basically it's cheap lead generation. If they were free then the system would likely be abused by people getting the free consultation (more often than they need to), and then buying their glasses online for peanuts.

Are you kidding? We had NHS vouchers for eye care and it was still like drawing teeth getting tesco to do an eye-check before the 2 years was up. I'd have paid if they hadn't relented, but not them.

Why doesn't it count as a disability accessability thing and people who can't see properly without glasses get free eye tests and glasses?

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Are you kidding? We had NHS vouchers for eye care and it was still like drawing teeth getting tesco to do an eye-check before the 2 years was up. I'd have paid if they hadn't relented, but not them.

Why doesn't it count as a disability accessability thing and people who can't see properly without glasses get free eye tests and glasses?

I suspect the "NHS vouchers" is the key thing here. Probably, they don't make much profit out of similar customers. If you'd offered to go private upfront with no mention of the vouchers, I'm sure there would have been no problem getting the eye-check.

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I suspect the "NHS vouchers" is the key thing here. Probably, they don't make much profit out of similar customers. If you'd offered to go private upfront with no mention of the vouchers, I'm sure there would have been no problem getting the eye-check.

They did from him indoors - he spent a fortune on some nice glasses. Which were last seen about the time some concrete was poured recently.. :)

I've worn glasses since I was knee-high to a quite short thing, and I don't think there's much point in spending £££ on *****y designer frames.

They do ask you when the last eye test you had was and unless you say over 2 years they aren't interested - before they know how much you're going to spend.

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As a long time glasses wearer with quite a complex prescription I find the way opticians work in this country to be pretty frustrating and opaque.

Around here Specsavers charge £7.50 for a consultation. Other opticians don't charge much more. Whereas I read an article saying that the actual cost for a consultation with time to properly discuss options should be over £100 in order to cover salaries and running costs. So, presumably they have to make all the money on the glasses and contact lenses - which in turn must be well over priced.

I've read that in other countries the consultation costs much more but the glasses are much cheaper. Glasses frames must be incredibly cheap to manufacture - basically 15g of metal or plastic. I'm thinking probably less than £1.

The last few times I've had glasses made to a new prescription I've had to go back to have the prescrition altered because they don't work. Because of the business model and the need for them to get you to buy new glasses I always think they are under pressure to alter your prescription even when it still works perfectly well. I'd prefer to pay more for a consulttaion where I'm sure they are focused purely on giving me the best advice.

It seems to be a business model which is used quite a lot in this country - like having to swap insurance every year to stop your premium doubling.

I'll give you a viz top tip here for spectacle wearers.

Persuade a family member to work for an optician. Cheap glasses for as long as it lasts.

Job done.

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Ctrl and + works for most browsers.

Or just use Alt and F4 if you're too stupid to use a computer.

Ctrl and + works for most browsers.

Or just use Alt and F4 if you're too stupid to use a computer.

Actually it doesn't. The letters are just bigger and fuzzy.

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Are they a patch on Dollond and Aitchison?

Didn't they get bought out by Boots?

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I work for an online glasses retailer (no names mentioned), we also have a store that offers eye exams and retinal photography - we do not offer free eye tests as we feel the same as you, the consultation should be where the money is spent. Saying that, we charge £30 or £60 for an advanced test, but offer a free pair of glasses as part of the exam cost.

Very interesting.. thanks.

I've just started wearing glasses for driving (one lazy eye). First got checked out in Mexico and they told me what I needed but didn't have time to order the glasses.

Got to the UK and found it almost impossible to buy what I needed as everyone demanded a prescription. So can you buy glasses online without the consultation if you already know what it is you need?

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Got to the UK and found it almost impossible to buy what I needed as everyone demanded a prescription. So can you buy glasses online without the consultation if you already know what it is you need?

You need a prescription. But they don't need to see it, and will accept a "tick" in the box saying (I have a valid prescription).

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Opticians and Hearing Test people (Audiometry), are growing markets, and I've heard investment is heading that way as people get older. Online hearing test/shops could be a way forward? I don't think anyone has done that yet.

Independent mobility scooter shops I see are sprouting everywhere, so they must be doing a roaring trade. I don't think there is a big player yet that could run a chain store nationwide.

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