The New High Street: Jeff Landucci

26th August 2020

Since my last blog back in early June, things have really changed. Lockdown is no more, and we all have more freedom to move around again. Pubs, shops, and gyms are now open, and even our ports and airports are tentatively back open for business. Time is on the move when for so long it seemed to stand still.

It’s amazing how well we’ve adapted to getting back to some sort of normal life – just need to remember your mask and those social distancing measures.

With the shops reopening, it’s a relief to see campsites filling up and staycations on the rise, giving the economy a much needed breath of life. However with thousands of job losses over the past months and more still expected to come, how is our high street coping, and how will it continue to cope?

Online businesses and deliveries have truly flourished recently – even more than pre-pandemic – at the expense of the high street. More convenience, less hassle, no need to wear a mask while you shop online, and of course there’s no need to even walk out your front door to get everything you need.

My question to my friends in the eyecare industry is this; will you be visiting all the usual trade shows in the new year like 100% Eyecare, SOC and so on, supporting the industry – or will you be saying within the safety of your home or shop, as you can shop online and get all these goods delivered to your front door? CET points are now easier to gain remotely, saving unnecessary expenditure too. Will this cause a huge shift in our industry?

During lockdown, Technology has helped to educate us and supply us with everything we’ve needed to survive – so using it to reach out to loyal and new customers seems a no brainer as a next step. Time is more valuable now than ever as we all try to catch up on lost revenue, and technology can help us streamline our procedures.

Anecdotally, I’ve seen social media groups asking opticians how many patients they’ve seen daily, with replies varying anywhere between 5 up to 20. Those with 5 can now proactively reach out easily to those missing 15 with the new technology at their fingertips.

For example, perhaps your staff could offer a video call reminder the morning of a patient’s appointment. This could also be a good opportunity for a pre-screening activity to save time. ” Good morning Mr Jones, just contacting you to remind you of your appointment today at 1pm”. The onus is now on the patient to turn up which could help with no-shows.

Times could be arranged to live stream your new contact lens patients, seeing how they insert & remove their lenses – or perhaps dry eye patients, are they taking their drops? There’s less need to turn up at the practice & waste precious chair time, it’s all from the comfort of their own home. Even better if you have patients on a care plan as revenue will be steadily and reliably coming in whilst you free up more time for more patients.

Whilst it’s great to see the country gradually returning to some semblance of normality, some parts of the UK are still closed, with people facing more redundancies, more closures – we all need to do our part to keep each other safe and think about our futures, helping where we can to adjust to the new normal.

Be safe,