|Groupon, anyone? Living Social? In that case, how about EyeDeal.ly? The excitement about group buying and group couponing started as a whisper among those in the know a few years back and has since increased to a full-on phenomenon, attracting consumers far and wide. |
EyeDeal.ly, which uses the tagline, “Group Buying for Eye Care Professionals,” came about when founder and self-proclaimed Chief Dealmaker Daniel Rostenne and Dr. Alan Glazier (founder and owner of Shady Grove Eye & Vision Care in Rockville, MD) realized there was a real use for this strategy in the optical world. Rostenne, who runs EyeCarePro, an optical-industry Web site builder, first came up with an idea to run discounts for his business. Over the course of a few months and a ton of brainstorming, the idea evolved into what he described as “the Groupon idea for optometry.”
So, What’s the Deal?
Rostenne’s hope for EyeDeal.ly is that it will enable optical businesses to both score deals and raise awareness (and sales) and ultimately benefit their own bottom lines. He said, “Our goal is to keep enough of a variety—always at 50% or more—so that practices will see that we provide a well rounded offering.” He also emphasizes that businesses should keep up with EyeDeal.ly’s updates because any new deal could be something that they want, even if prior offers haven’t interested them.
Rostenne went on to explain the need to keep the discounts deep. He said, “If you want attention, you’ve got to bring a deal. Right now, some equipment vendors will say, ‘I’ll never be able to give 50% off—it costs me 60%,’ but they’re not always looking at it correctly. How much would they spend on marketing to sell 10 of those?” Even if a company is taking a small loss on the sale, Rostenne points out that the cost of traditional marketing is much higher than the value of converting a business’ product into its marketing resource. “And if there’s no sale,” Rostenne said, “it’s not costing you anything. So it’s relatively risk free.”
Getting the Word Out
For an endeavor like EyeDeal.ly, social media is not only an added bonus, it’s a necessary part of keeping the message fresh and constant. With a growing presence on Facebook and an ever-increasing Twitter following, it’s easy to keep up with EyeDeal.ly’s deals and updates.
It’s also incredibly easy to sign up to receive e-mailed updates for exclusive deals. Interested eyecare professionals (ECPs) can just go to EyeDeal.ly and enter their e-mail address in the “Sign Up” field at the top of the home page.
EyeDeal.ly launched in May 2011, and there are already plenty of clients with positive feedback.
“Eyedeal.ly has been a great experience for us, it was very easy to set up and the staff very helpful. Besides the actual sales, it also created a lot of buzz and opened some doors.”
—Tom Kramer, CEO, Tek Eyewear, New York, NY
“We loved our EyeDeal.ly experience—apart from the exposure that EyeDeal.ly provided us through its advertising reach, it brought us 20 new Web site clients in one week, all at no risk to us. The key to making this investment a success is to focus on providing excellent service to these 20 new clients so they'll remain clients for good.”
—Karri Paradi, Director of Marketing, EyeCarePro.net, Toronto, ON
"We just tried EyeDeal.ly and are quite pleased with the results. We not only generated a significant [number] of new accounts, but we heard from several of our existing accounts as well. They learned about some new features we had added from the EyeDeal.ly offer."
—Michael Arnell, O.D., CEO, Websystem2, Placerville, CA
“The Eyedeal.ly offer enabled us to find new customers. This will give them an opportunity to become familiar with our products and technologies, and we have no doubt that they will eventually expand their product selection beyond the original offering from the ‘deal’ and will become loyal customers. It was also a great opportunity to test the power of B-to-B e-commerce in the optical industry, which will undoubtedly continue to grow.”
—Bernard Pedoussaut, Aspex Eyewear, Miami, FL
For businesses interested in offering an EyeDeal, the process of getting started is easy:
1. Click on the “Feature Your Business” button at EyeDeal.ly.
2. Fill out the form with a description of your deal.
3. EyeDeal.ly will get in touch with you, and if the offer is going to move forward, writing, promoting, and posting the deal will all be taken care of for you.
There are no upfront costs, and every offer is sent to more than 20,000 ECPs. If enough people purchase the deal, you’re on! If not, just consider the promotion free marketing.
Rachel Bozek is a freelance writer who includes the optical field as one of her areas of expertise. Contact email@example.com with comments and/or suggestions for future topics.