A potential customer receives her first eye exam.

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Is your organization looking to incorporate a life changing product with revenue generating potential into its operations?  Or are you looking to expand the provision of health care services to your customers? By distributing eyeglasses, you can help provide a product that enhances the economic productivity of your beneficiaries and strengthens your organization.

VisionSpring partners with organizations around the world that see the tremendous impact potential of eyeglasses.  Since 2001, we’ve developed a diverse network of partner organizations, including microfinance institutions, community health organizations and hospitals each of which seek the various benefits of working with eyeglasses.  Click here to learn more about general eye issues.


1   Distribution Model

Health Clinic/ Kiosk

Do you have an established physical location and are looking to incorporate eyeglasses into an existing offering of goods and services? Your fixed locations may or may not be health related. If your fixed location is a health clinic then offering eye glasses will appeal to your customer base, which naturally already come to your store in search of health care products.  If you employ a semi-skilled health work force, they can support patients on site with very little additional training and conduct eye screenings with a simple vision chart.

If your fixed location is a kiosk providing consumer products/ services such as mobile phone credit top ups you most likely benefit from consistent customer footfall of a variety of ages.  If some of your consistent customer base is over 35 years old, adding eyeglasses could provide yet another product/ service and a likely 200% margin on each sale.  As near-vision glasses are an over the counter product, a display and a few pairs of glasses with varying lens power(s) will enable your customers determine their appropriate lens power.

Hospital

Does your hospital network have an established customer base and either currently provides some form of eye care service or is interested in piloting an eye care program? Your hospital can take advantage of the reliable patient network it has built up to provide another important and livelihood sustaining health product; eyeglasses. What’s more, if you’re looking to add an additional source of revenue to support hospital operations, the sale of eyeglasses can typically earn a 200% margin on each pair.

Mobile Health Worker/ Entrepreneur group

Does your organization employ a mobile workforce that travels door to door selling health products or other consumer products? Not being tied to a physical location affords you significant flexibility, but also comes with restrictions. You need products that are light weight, durable, and do not require technical expertise or advanced training to distribute. Near-vision glasses are all of the above and can be easily integrated into your “basket” of goods.  Only basic training is recommended before a mobile worker can begin selling near-vision glasses. VisionSpring provides basic training (in the form of videos, case studies, and, at times, on site visits) on how to integrate eyeglasses into your organization’s operations. Importantly, the sale of glasses can increase revenue for both the organization and field agents (commission).

Artisan/ Agricultural Co-op

Are your employees experiencing difficulty threading needles or sowing seeds? Is your business suffering as a result of these setbacks? As artisans and farmers get older these intrinsically important activities become increasingly difficult due to diminishing eyesight.  Near vision glasses enable tailors, weavers, and many others who work up close to regain their livelihood and, by extension, increase their productivity by 35% for the co-op, trade group, labor union, or factory that they work for.   Help your organization realize its potential and ensure that your employees have the eyeglasses they need to do their jobs well!

Pilot Programs

Example: Mobile banking – Do your clients rely on their ability to see their phones in order to access their bank accounts? For all customers above the age of 35 this seemingly mindless task can become increasingly difficult. To retain customers and increase the total number of bankable clients for your institutions it is imperative that people be able to see clearly up close. To do this, people must have access to affordable near-vision glasses if they are to be able to read their smart phones and participate in the mobile economy. We suggest that if your organization is experiencing these issues that near-vision glasses be bundled with the opening of a bank account or mobile phone or be provided at a reduced cost.

2   How Do I Get Started?

Determine Order

Frame: Vanity is not monopolized by the rich. Your customers, employees, or beneficiaries, while poor, still deserve a selection when it comes to eyeglasses. With that consideration, we offer a range of different frame styles; 3 soft-touch plastics, 2 metals, and the timeless aviator sunglasses. We have found that for those with wider faces, our square soft-touch plastic and metal frames are more popular. For those with rounder faces, our more rounded soft-touch frames are more popular.

  • Paul – masculine, wider face
  • Ringo – unisex, rounder face
  • George – feminine, rounder face
  • Kranthi – older generations (traditional metal frame), wider faces
  • Aviator – the iconic sunglasses, for everyone

Take a look at our Product Catalog.


Color: Are you concerned with being able to offer an array of colors or know that a particular color would be more popular in your geography? Not to worry. Our soft touch plastic frames come in 6 colors; red wine, black, grey, blue, tortoise and green. Our metal frames come in 2 colors; gold and silver


Lens Type: You may or may not be familiar with eyeglasses lenses, but we can take the hassle out of the decision making. We offer three lens types; single vision, bifocal, and UV protected (sunglasses) and will work with you to design an order appropriate for your designated catchment population.

Lens Power: We offer 5 near vision powers, +1.00, +1.50, +2.00, +2.50, and +3.00. Generally customers between 35 and 40 years old will need a +1.00 diopter lens and a +0.50 stronger power lens every 5 years. Therefore, we suggest designing your order based off of the broad age range of your catchment population. (I.E. if an estimated 75% of the population over 35 is between 35-45 years old, 75% of your order should be comprised of +1.00 and +1.50 lenses.)

From Order to Products Arriving at Customs - What Happens?

Ok, so your order has been placed. What now? After order placement, it takes roughly 30 days to manufacture the glasses. During this time, we ensure that all requisite shipping and customs documentation are in order and we inform you of the customs clearance protocol (each country is different).

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We offer three types of shipping – sea, air and courier – depending on shipment type and distance from China, shipping time ranges from approximately 6 to 30 days. After the order has left the port, we provide you with tracking information.


Once your order reaches customs you will be notified by a customs official to pick up your order at a specified location within the designated port city. In order to clear customs you will be required to pay a customs fee, which is typically assigned based on the invoice value. Customs fees vary from country to country, but generally range between 15% and 30% of the invoice.

What Happens Once I Receive My Order?

Sort: So you’ve received your glasses.  Now, you should reconcile your order with the commercial invoice to be certain that everything is consistent.  In addition, please check the products to make sure there are no defects.  VisionSpring’s glasses go through rigorous quality control by a third party and come with a warranty.  Once you have double-checked that you received what you ordered, provide payment according to the VisionSpring invoice.

3   How Does VisionSpring Help Me with Distribution/Sales?

Determining Appropriate Price

Is this your first time selling glasses and are unsure what price to sell them at? Don’t worry. After years of experience in various geographies, we have found that in order to appropriately price glasses, partners need to first identify their target demographic. We recommend gaining an understanding of your target demographic’s average daily wage and pricing your glasses between 1 and 3 times that number, depending on price sensitivity and cultural norms.

Getting to the Sale

If this isn’t the first time you’re selling eyeglasses, you probably know the sales process. If you’d like a refresher, or if this is your first time we’ve developed a straightforward process that will enable you to conduct easy-to-learn vision screenings and sell glasses, which will benefit you and the person in need. With this screening protocol, you will be able to provide the majority of those age 35 or older with a simple pair of near-vision glasses to restore their clear vision whereas others may require eyeglasses that protect from sun and dust exposure. However, neither type of aforementioned eyeglasses can help correct problems with distance vision nor more advanced vision issues. For these other vision problems, the customer should be referred to a nearby doctor or clinic.

Find out how to conduct an eye screening here! VisionSpring Training Manual 2016

© 2013 VisionSpring | All rights reserved | All photos by Esther Havens