How StratoSTACK Can Help You Vol. 6

How StratoSTACK Can Help You Vol. 6

Volume 6…Leighton Grassie, M.D. Eye Care Business Embraces New Technology

Leighton Grassie, M.D., thought she’d found a niche opportunity to expand her ophthalmology practice by selling contemporary eye wear and contacts in her new office but she could not have been more wrong. The retail eye wear and contact business is extremely competitive and she didn’t have the edge to succeed.

Originally, she’d worked in a mall in southwest Austin, (TX) for many years as the eye doctor attached to a big box retailer of lenses, frames, and contacts. Her presence made it one-stop shopping for those in need of new eye-wear or contacts. Over the years she’d built up a Rolodex of customers that returned for annual eye examinations that resulted in new prescriptions for eye-wear and contacts.

Leighton wanted to break the connection between her practice and the big box retailer. Now that her husband had landed an executive position at a global logistics company, they could afford to take the calculated risk of a new business venture at a site away from a mall. She was counting on the previous clients to follow her to the new location and many did. What she had discounted was the loss of daily walk-up clients that had been walking in the mall, seen an attractive pair of frames, and needed an eye examination in order to purchase the new glasses.

Conducting eye exams only at the new site didn’t generate adequate revenue to cover rent, utilities, and the payments for new equipment purchases. Within the first three months, Leighton realized that she needed to augment the practice’s revenue stream by selling eye-wear and contacts. But how could she compete and win with several hundred other opticians, optometrists, and ophthalmologists selling the same items in the Austin market?

Leighton knew the answer was to partner with the project team at the University of Wisconsin, her Alma Mater, who were conducting research into contacts that have a processor embedded in the fabric of the lens enabling their ability to auto-focus within milliseconds. The contacts were capable of adjusting to high / low lighting and near / far objects typically as fast or slightly faster than the human eye. Leighton speculated that the new contacts would have vast appeal to the selected customer group, the Millennials in Austin.

The millennial segments targeted were the hip-ennials, gadget gurus, and millennial moms. Through research she’d found that these niche millennial segments were socially conscious, charitable, globally aware, information hungry, and highly involved with social media. Plus, two of the three targeted groups had an above average income that would be required to purchase the products Leighton planned to stock in her office space and e-commerce store.

The product offering was selected for maximum edginess with frames from Kate Spade, Fatheadz, Lucky Brand, Persol, and old standbys such as Ray-Ban. She wanted to be first in the market with the auto-focus contact lenses and was convinced that her relationship with the U of Wisconsin and its professors would enable her to be one of the first to offer these Inspector Gadget like lenses.

Leighton wanted to partner with a vendor that could integrate her vision of edgy design and functional capabilities in the e-commerce site while providing expertise in launching and promoting client’s content on social media sites. She’d recently read an article about using bio-metrics and facial recognition for e-commerce payments and felt that this was a natural match with her vision of the e-commerce store.

After an exhaustive search online, Leighton contacted the team at StratoSTACK about their StratoSTACK CaaS (commerce as a service) product offering. She was impressed with the StratoSTACK CaaS feature set that included bio-metric and facial recognition payment options. She loved the StratoSTACK weird and edgy web site design and was completely sold while viewing the multiple case studies found on the site that described how the StratoSTACK internal media team designed, deployed, promoted, and managed multiple e-commerce sites for newbie entrepreneurs like herself.

Next on the agenda was to decide on her sponsorship level for the annual Keep Austin Weird festival that attracts her key target group and contributes to the local food bank. She’s considering the platinum level now that her worries over the e-commerce site were completely solved by contacting the team at StratoSTACK.

StratoSTACK is almost here……


Randall Smith – StratoSTACK Product Manager

Illustrations and Copy Edit: Jaime Baldwin- StratoSTACK Digital Media Specialist