The Optics of Engagement: The Online Customer Journey in Eyecare

By Opticommerce | May 3, 2024

The eyecare industry is constantly evolving, as are the expectations of patients. Technology has allowed optical professionals to deliver a higher standard of care, but has your eyecare business utilised technology to improve the patient experience? 

If you aren’t considering the digital touchpoints of the customer journey in 2024, you are doing yourself and your patients a disservice. Those who adapt – thrive. Your competitors aren’t afraid to capitalise on this opportunity even if you won’t.

Let’s break down the modern customer journey into three stages while highlighting the digital touchpoints you need to consider.

Stage 1: The Search

Picture this: a patient begins to notice a slight strain in their vision, making them realise it’s been well over a couple of years since their last eye exam. What do you think they will do first? 

If you said ‘turn to a search engine’, you would likely be correct. Whether it’s Google, Bing, or any other search engine, society now expects to find the answer to their question and have their needs met with a click of a button.

Key phrases like “opticians near me,” “optical store,” or “prescription glasses” are just some of the hundreds of terms this patient might search for to find your eyecare business. Sceptical? GE Capital Retail Bank’s second annual Major Purchase Shopper Study recently reported 81% of customers choose to search for a business’ website before making any decisions. That means four out of five of your patients want to see how they can find your store, what services you offer, and how they can interact with your business.

Touchpoints to consider at this stage of the online customer journey:

•    SEO: Optimising your website with specific keywords and content to rank higher in search engines like Google, making you more visible and easier for patients and customers to find you.

•    Listings: Having backlinks to your website on other platforms and websites, creating new ways for people to find you.

•    Paid advertising: Creating advertisements that target specific prospective customers so your business is in front of the right people at the right time.

•    Business profile optimisation: Ensuring your business profile in search engines is current with the correct contact information, opening hours and more.

Example of customer journeys and the different online touchpoints required for different goals.

Stage 2: The Experience

So, the customer has found your website through hundreds of search engine results and competitor advertisements. Success! It’s no small feat to get traffic to your website. Now that they have landed, have you considered making their visit worthwhile? 

As we’ve established, customers expect their needs to be met in a few simple clicks. Many patients today prefer to book an appointment online, and some will even want to shop for frames or contact lenses online rather than browsing in-store. By having clear call-to-action buttons on your site that highlight what services you offer, paired with a well-curated eCommerce catalogue, you will instantly boost customer satisfaction by showing them exactly what they’re looking for. The United Kingdom has the most advanced eCommerce market in Europe. *In 2023, the country was estimated to have nearly 60 million eCommerce users, and now is the time to optimise your business to offer purchasing eyewear products online.

Touchpoints to consider at this stage of the online customer journey:

•    eCommerce: Facilitating customer needs by having a comprehensive website that allows customers to purchase from you directly at the click of a button

•    Content filtering: Allowing patients to search through your catalogue of offerings effectively by having a well-designed and well-organised catalogue  

•    Optical features: Having additional tools incorporated into your website, such as a virtual frames try-on, offers a superior experience to patients shopping directly from your website

Stage 3: The Relationship

At this stage, the hard work of getting patients to your site is complete. Thanks to your strong eCommerce presence, your customers can clearly see what services you offer and all the different types of eyewear you sell. The journey could end with your patient booking an appointment or your customer purchasing eyewear directly from you online, but it doesn’t have to—and shouldn’t.

Brand loyalty is essential when considering customer retention and repeat bookings. You can invest in your patients by adding additional touchpoints to the online customer journey. If someone has already engaged with your offerings, they are likely to do so again if you foster a positive relationship with them. Email newsletters and social media content allow you to promote your offerings to customers who categorically want to hear about your business.

Touchpoints to consider at this stage of the online customer journey:

•    Email newsletter: Promoting offers and specific campaigns you’re running to patients who have signed up with the express purpose of learning more about your business

•    Social Media: Creating engaging and meaningful content to post across platforms like Instagram and Facebook, allowing customers the opportunity to engage with you directly

•    Reviews: Feeding back to Stage 1, encouraging customers to leave reviews of the experience they’ve had with you is an additional step you can take to create consumer trust and brand loyalty

As we have established, a robust online presence is essential to the success of any business in 2024, and the eyecare industry is no exception. 

Covering the online touchpoints of the patient journey takes time and effort, but it will allow you to create additional revenue streams and boost patient satisfaction. Will you take the digital leap and stay ahead of the curve? 


Joe Haidari, Product Manager

With over 20 years of experience in the optical industry, Joe has a background in dispensing for independent opticians and chains. He has been a core member of the OptiCommerce team for over ten years and helps us to deliver bespoke digital solutions specifically tailored to eyecare professionals. His background in retail and digital solutions allows him to create high-performing, conversion-focused websites.