How to open an optical shop

There are objects and tools that Man will always need. Indeed, with this increase in technological products and screens, as well as for climate change and the increase in radiation, people will be increasingly forced willy-nilly to resort to glasses. Still today, therefore, opening an optical shop can be an extremely apt choice, provided it is made in the right ways and always keeping up to date.

A GROWING MARKET

If there is a sector that continues to grow, even in our country, this is that of glasses, above all because of the increased demand for corrective glasses which will only increase the perspective in the coming years. And this thanks, or because of, the increasing number of screens to which we are subjected, including TV, Cinema, Smartphone, Tablet, PC and so on.

For this reason there has never been a more propitious moment for opening an optical shop and making it an extremely lucrative business. The key to the store’s commercial success lies in defining all the details and looking for a way to differentiate yourself from the competition.

However, we are talking about a commercial activity, and as such its opening requires planning. You need to start from a business plan to highlight your goals, determine the location of the venue, the strategies, the location, the structure and all the equipment you need to distribute the glasses.

It will also be necessary to estimate the costs for obtaining the licena, and those necessary for hiring staff. In addition, you will have to think about the quantity, as well as the quality of the products offered for sale: if, for example, you want to sell only fashion sunglasses, and cheap frames, you will certainly have lower costs.

If you want to focus on frames for eyeglasses and sunglasses, and on high quality eyeglasses, you will have to spend more but consequently in the short and long term you will have a greater profit.

Remember, however, that if you want to sell prescription lenses, you will have to invest in medical equipment ; and it may be necessary to buy re-making units, an auto-refractometer, a keratometer and other optical devices. In addition, you should definitely hire an optometrist who conducts eye exams and writing prescriptions.

This makes you understand that all the points of your business plan must be defined with extreme care, and there are several steps to follow to start an optical shop. Let’s go and see them all, by thread and by sign to try not to make any mistakes.

ALL THE STEPS TO FOLLOW TO START AN OPTICAL SHOP

To open an optical shop, as to open any shop, you have to respect the law. Before you begin you need to check all the commercial license requirements, find a professional who can assist and answer your questions.

But let’s proceed with order, and let’s start talking about all the steps you need and everything you need to open an optical shop.

A qualification

What you need first in opening an optician shop is the possession of the right qualifications: therefore to open a shop of this type you must have the qualification of optical mechanical operator, or in any case have a staff who has this title or certification specification in optics and optometry.

Bureaucracy

Obviously the right qualification is not enough. Opening a business also requires compliance with bureaucratic regulations, otherwise there is a risk of incurring penalties. First of all you must go to the competent Revenue Agency to open the VAT number , and present all the documents certifying the possession of the above qualifications, and send the certificate of start of the activity to the Municipality of reference, the one where you intend to open your shop.

The bureaucratic procedure is then completed by registering with the Business Register and obtaining the Hygienic-Sanitary Suitability of your premises, which will have to be recognized at the ASL.

Costs

The business plan of course also serves to make an estimate of the expenses necessary to open the optician shop. It is necessary to think about the location, design, products, equipment of the optical store. And there are also small details, such as the creation of the website (although today it is perhaps better to focus more on social media, such as Instagram) and all online advertising.

Then there are the maintenance costs of electricity, heating and equipment which are certainly important. By getting a rough estimate of these costs, you can also try to reduce your investment and maximize your profit. For example, if you do not have financial resources for an on-site laboratory, you can collaborate with one in your area.

Or one way to reduce initial expenses is to buy used optical shop equipment. For example you can buy a slit lamp microscope, which is still as good as a new one. With the gains and savings, over time, you can move to a new and technologically more advanced model.

Where to open

You should never underestimate the position of your optical store, because low visibility and low advertising negatively affect the brand and your revenues. Obviously to reduce expenses the rent has an impact, but the position is perhaps the aspect where one can never compromise.

In fact, the better the exposure, and the position, the less you have to spend on marketing. If your shop has a rather central location it has greater attractiveness to customers than one in a little frequented and little visible street.

If you are in a position that is very well known and full of people every day, it will often happen that people enter to browse and in this way you will have the opportunity to make them become customers.

Analyze the competition

Today the market is extremely competitive, so to succeed you must differentiate yourself from the competition. Go to discover the optical stores in your area and also elsewhere to understand what they offer, and open something that is different, better, without just copying them.

Study the retailers of glasses that are very successful, discovering what are the elements that distinguish them. Are there any unique products, difficult to find elsewhere, or that offer lower prices than the competition?

Also go to their social pages, their websites, analyzing and looking at customer reviews, understanding what they appreciate most in an optical shop. Write everything down, and use your data to your advantage. Surely the more info you manage to reap the more benefits you will be able to get.

Choose suppliers

Based on your budget and the products you want to sell, look for suppliers that are best suited to your needs. If you want to offer customers fashion and design frames, go to a supplier of authentic products. The same if you want a vintage department.

Do not sell counterfeit glasses, because your reputation, image and therefore your business will be heavily damaged. And you can also incur even substantial penalties.

When you open, request quotes from at least three suppliers, and try to understand if there are discounts for large orders, or for monthly purchases. In short, try to negotiate!

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