Business Advice

The Impact Compelling Retail Displays Have on Your Revenue

optical space remodel, retail displays, frame displays, optical retail store, eyewear display designs, architectural designs, before and after, increase revenue with remodel

One of the most compelling lectures I ever attended dealt specifically with this topic.  Until that day, I had not given much consideration to the value of tracking the effect of a well-done remodel.  That day changed how I viewed the value of display as it relates directly to revenue.

When you enter a high-end multiline retailer in a mall, what is the first thing you see?  Yes, the cosmetics counter!  The higher the retailer profile, the more the cosmetic company spends on their display counter. That display image is directly related to their selling price and only the high-end brands will be given space. This image directly relates to their revenue.

While the seminar dealt with remodels, the same logic (without sales history) applies to a well-done new office.  For people contemplating a remodel the burning question is always, “how can I afford it?”.   To make the point of Revenue to Display, we will give a marketing example.

Store A is 15 years old and has had no upgrades during that time.  The businesses around it have changed and are still very viable. To upgrade the merchandising displays we will assume a cost of $45K.  We are also going to assume the store sells 6 pair of glasses per day and is open 6 days per week.  The owner decides to lease the fixtures with $5K down and (without listing all the details) a monthly payment of approximately $660.  This defines the cost side of the project.

The store currently has an average selling price of $250 per pair for lenses and frames.  The new display fixtures are installed and instantly the store has a new fresh upscale look.  The reps that have been calling on the store for years take instant notice of the new improved look.  Rather than showing their “basic” line they automatically want to position their higher end frames in the newly minted space. In my experience, even if the frame lines do not change, the typical average selling price commanded by the new space goes up 20%.  In a seminar I gave a few years ago, I made this very claim and someone in the back of the audience said that did not happen for him – instead he said he had a 37% increase in revenue.

It is always best to take a conservative approach to budgets.  If you increase your average selling price from $250 by 20% the difference is $50.  If you have a 50% gross margin on material cost, you just netted $25 more than your previous sales.  $25 (net margin) X 6 (pairs per day) = $150 per day NET.  This business is open 24 days per month for a total of $3,600 additional NET dollars.

While results vary, it is easy to see by this example that compelling retail display changes can instantly generate additional revenue and more than support the return on investment.  In this case, the client nets an additional $2,940 per month and in turn has a more highly motivated staff that enjoys the new look and feel of their space.

Our Unique Value Add to the Fabrication Process 

Taking your new office or remodel from concept to reality has a few very important steps.

#1). Figuring out your exact needs for the space (i.e. how your customers move about the space, your preference for location and size of exam rooms, and even how large you want the break room to be!).

#2). The design process, to decide on the look, feel, and function of your office. Not sure how to make that decision? Lucky for you we have an easy how to guide for reference! Click here for How to Start the Design Process.

#3). Last but not least, the main attraction of this post… THE FABRICATION AND BUILD OUT STAGE!

Not to toot our own horn, but there are a number of elements that truly set Ennco apart from our peers including but not limited to our years of experience in the industry, our use of the most advance technology, and finally our quality and attention to detail.

Industry Specific Experience

Would you hire a plumber to build you a house? NO…so why would you hire a local casework builder to create your optical space?

Every city in the country has at least one local builder and in many cases they are very good at what they do.  What they do, however, isn’t designing and building successful Optometry and Ophthalmology spaces. Your typical casework builder does a mix of local projects from kitchens in private homes to commercial cabinets in schools or government buildings. However, in optical spaces there are a very unique set of needs associated with the build and design. Our high level of experience in the industry allows us to make your space work like a dream!  We’ve heard many accounts of someone using the local cabinet/millwork provider only to discover there are horrible flaws in the logic used to build the space (i.e. work surfaces too high, frames displayed too low, low end materials used in an  industrial grade setting etc…).  What works in a kitchen will not carry over to a smooth running and profitable optical dispensary.  So we pride ourselves on the ability and know-how specific to the optical industry…no “faking it till you make it here”.

Most Advanced Technology

Nearly every machine in our fabrication shop is CNC (computer) controlled, meaning we can fabricate exactly what was drawn during the design process… cool huh?!? This ability allows us to really step outside the box and create truly custom displays that couldn’t be built by just anyone. Our computer rich environment means that we have fewer fabricators in our shop than many of our competitors.  Our small team is able to see each and every project from “cradle to grave” and we take a huge amount of pride in the quality of the finished product.  In a huge, labor rich factory any given employee may only see a tiny part of the puzzle but never actually see the finished product, at Ennco that’s just not our style!

High Quality and Unprecedented Attention to Detail

Remember the really cool CNC machines we talked about earlier? Yea…well the REALLY cool thing is they allow us to build casework and displays with an amazing amount of accuracy! We’ve removed the chance for human error in nearly every step of the building process which allows the fabricators to keep an extra close eye on the quality of the finished product and avoid costly mistakes. All of our casework is built above the standards for AWI cabinetry. We use thicker and stronger materials than most shops so the pieces you buy will last until you want to change them out rather than need to. It’s not uncommon to hear of spaces we’ve built that have been unchanged for 20 years. We also dowel and screw all of our casework and don’t use staples or nails on anything we build. This is a much more difficult way to build things but the quality of the finished product is second to none.

We hope you enjoyed this quick glimpse into the Ennco shop! Check back later for more posts like this and much more.

Independence from your competition!

In today’s world of business, we are in constant competition not only with brick and mortar stores, but now with online ecommerce it makes it even more important to be unique. Stand out from the competition and gain independence from the ordinary with these simple yet effective ideas.

#1. Provide excellent customer service. I know you have heard that a thousand times, but it really is the most significant contributor to the success of your business. With consumers in today’s market, online is king and a they prefer to shop on their own time within the comfort of their own home. Hence why the world of online sales has skyrocketed! To compete with online retailers, it is imperative that you provide an amazing customer service experience that makes the customer want to come back. The great thing about online shopping is the convenience, but what online cannot provide is the face to face relationship that keeps customers coming back, use this to your advantage.

#2. Frequently change your offerings and the way you present your business. Whether it be changing images on your website, changing the graphics and signage you have in store, rotating promotions you offer, or even changing the look of your space with an update to your displays. Giving the customer a new “view” often helps them remember why they keep coming back. A great way to update is by adding a feature unit, something like our Grandstand (shown below). Not only are you adding more space to display merchandise, but it provides a stage for marketing materials and graphics.

#3. Make it easy for your customer to shop. Retail businesses many times show too much merchandise and it can be overwhelming. It is important to find the perfect balance between the amount of merchandise that is right for your business and for the customer. Creating a comfortable, well organized, and easily accessible shopping environment for your customer will improve the profitability of your business.

There are many great ways to do this, and below are just a few ideas.

  • Frame Trays: Trays can serve many purposes in an optical store, the obvious being as storage in a drawer or on a counter. But our favorite use of the Tuxedo Tray is as a “shopping” tray for your customer. Once they have a tray full of frames they can bring it to the optician full of potential sales.


  • Ice Cube Panels: The Ice Cube is a great way to showcase a lot of frames while still being simple and organized. In addition, the open airy design doesn’t collect dust as much as shelves would…so less work for you when it comes to cleaning!
  • Mirrors: Mirrors are a simple addition that is often overlooked. How will your customer see the merchandise and the way it looks on them without mirrors? Exactly…that is why it is so important to provide mirrors whether they are wall mounted, rod mounted, or counter top mirrors.

By following these 3 simple steps, you will be making moves in the right direction to stand out and be “independent” from the competition. If you are interested in more ways to organize your space or looking for a new display, give us a call at (425)883-1650 to talk about your space!

Pro Tips: Lease Negotiations

lease negotiations, optical space design, floor planning services, architect, frame displays

Let us start this post by saying, if you already know how to negotiate a lease you are ahead of the game! Most of the time, when tenants are planning to enter into a lease agreement with their landlord they don’t know what should be “included”. Reason being… no two leases are the same! When reviewing leasing documents, make sure you thoroughly review and fully understand every aspect of the terms. Don’t be afraid to admit you don’t know what you don’t know!

We suggest working with a leasing agent to make sure you are getting the most value out of your lease and that you are entering the best possible scenario for the new home of your business! On the same note, it is important to find a leasing agent you trust. They will be your “battle buddie” and should fight for you to get the best of the best in your lease agreement. Keep in mind, negotiating a lease for a new space (empty box) vs an existing space (remodel) is very different. For this post we will focus mainly on negotiating a lease for a new space that is being built from an empty shelf (or vanilla box as we call it).

With that in mind… we met with Dick Reed, owner of the successful SR Construction, to discuss what he has seen in the recent market regarding lease negotiations. We hope this post helps you understand where to start with lease negotiations.

Key Terms:
Furring: Typically a term for materials used in the construction of walls. Furring can be done with  wood, steel or other stud construction material. Furring is used to make space for insulation, or to level and resurface ceilings or walls.

Demising Wall(s): Are walls that separate a tenant’s suite from another tenant’s suite, or separate common areas in a building. Demising walls are typically found in retail strip center malls and commercial buildings with multiple tenants.

HVAC: Short for heating, ventilation, and air conditioning. The system is used to provide heating and cooling services to buildings. HVAC refers to anything from the heating/cooling unit, ducting, controls and the electrical hookup of those services.

Here is an example of a BEST-CASE scenario lease agreement. In additional to including all the items below, the landlord gave these tenants additional funds to put towards their space improvement.

What was included in the lease:

  • All HVAC equipment (including electrical hookup) with distribution lines (ducting)
  • 200 amps of power to the space (wired into a panel)
  • All interior and exterior walls furred and insulated
  • All demising walls completed up to the roof
  • Finished drop ceiling
  • Fire sprinklers (above and below the drop ceiling). Most landlords will provide the sprinklers for above the drop ceiling but not below.
    • Estimated cost to put in sprinklers below a drop ceiling in a 2,000 square foot space is about $13,500 [roughly 15 sprinklers are needed at $900/each].
  • All Plumbing (including water heaters)
    • For spaces that are part of a larger building, you may have “house” water systems already.

Here is an example of what we call a “BARE BONES” lease agreement scenario. In this scenario, the tenant got a roof, bare walls, and a front door with a $40,000 tenant allowance.

What was included in the lease:

  • Empty conduit. The tenant was responsible for putting in a power box and wires, which typically costs around $10,000.
  • Drywall and furring on the demising walls (interior and exterior) were not included.
    • All the walls had to be insulated at the tenant’s expense, roughly $16,000.
  • No HVAC equipment. The tenant had to purchase and install- at their own expense, about $15,000.
  • Water line was available, however the tenant had to purchase a hot water heater as well as the hook ups which cost around $1,300.

As you can see these different lease scenarios are vastly different! This is why it is important to educate yourself on what goes into a lease negotiation, work with a leasing agent, understand your wants and needs, and make sure you know exactly what you are willing to take on before signing a lease.

Items not discussed in the lease scenarios above but are important things to note.

  • Typically, landlords do not include bathrooms in a new space build out, however you are required to have at lease 1 (and most of the time 2) bathrooms in a space.
    • You can confirm the number needed with the building department in your city, but in our experience most spaces over 1,500 square feet require at least 2, but this varies by how your business is categorized by the building department.
    • Adding in an ADA bathroom typically runs about $5,000.
  • Requesting time. Most of the time you can negotiate with the landlord to give you a few months of free rent. This extra time allows you to get into the space and make any changes you need, or in the case of a new space build out all the walls and install your fixtures and casework.
    • Every landlord is different, so use “free time” as a bargaining chip!
  • Tenant improvement funds. Some landlords will give their new tenants money that they can put towards improvements to the space. This is a great addition to a lease that you can negotiate and it allows you to discuss your vision for the space with the landlord.

For a remodel of an existing space, many of the key concepts are the same for items you will want included (HVAC, Plumbing, Etc…). You may not have to “fight” as hard to get them all included, since they will most likely be there already. However, you will want to do a full inspection and if any repairs are needed, try to work those into your lease negotiation. Make sure in your lease that it is very clear who (you vs the landlord) is responsible when systems fail or need an upgrade (i.e. water heater, air conditioner, etc…).

We wish you the best of luck in your lease negotiations, and when you are ready to talk about designing the space and filling it with fixtures give us a call!

Marketing YOUR brand.

Ennco Design Services
A great example of focusing on YOUR brand. We helped Dr. Lewis Lim (Kirkland, WA) design and build his store using his brand and not focusing on the frame manufacturers.

Visual merchandising is a huge part of selling, give your frames the kind of display they deserve. Don’t fit in with your competition, blow them out of the water! One of the best ways to stand out from other offices is to maximize your use of visual merchandising by creating and fostering your own brand.   

Although this post isn’t directly related to our displays, it is related to showcase or “displaying” YOUR brand! In this blog post we will be sharing advice on how to market YOUR brand and business, while bringing in more sales and creating a lasting and positive reputation.

Emphasis on YOUR brand

A lot of times frame companies will provide their distributors with large branded displays to showcase their frames. Think Ray-Ban… their displays are big, bright, and colorful which creates a great showcase for their frames; but as the business owner is that showcasing YOUR brand or theirs?  How are your other frames stacking up compared to the frames in the brand specific showcase? The reason we bring this up is to start the discussion around YOUR brand and YOUR business! Of course, it is great to have branded frames like Ray-Ban but give them the same energy and “presentation space” as your other frames. Giving your patients a chance to find the frames that suit them best based on the look and fit rather than the brand name and logo. Frame displays should not distract from the frames, but rather disappear to the customers eye and allow them to focus on the frames.

While this kind of branding is important it’s not the main thing you should focus on. You will always have those patients that will want a specific brand and that’s ok! A great way to provide branding without letting that brand define you is by organizing your frames by brand and each row or panel having a small descriptive sign. Something like a small logo or sign holder at the top of the display works just fine. This gives the patient direction of where to find those frames but does not sway them to a certain brand over the other.

Keeping your advertising and design layout on brand is key to marketing YOUR business as opposed to marketing someone else’s business.  

Spread the word

There are many platforms and ways to market your business it is not a one size fits all formula, but to get you started we have shared two successful ideas below.

Social Media Marketing is really booming! Try advertising your business using Facebook or similar social media platform. They even have ways to narrow your target market to only include people in your area, or a certain demographic, and many other categories. The ads are inexpensive compared to many other avenues and you are not locked into a contract. Try advertising for a few months to see if you like it

Google is another great online platform that really makes a big impact! Make sure your website it up to date and has clear and descriptive information about what you do and what sets you apart from your competition. Google has paid ad services (“Ad Words”) that allows you to bid for the top spot on a search results page, and like Facebook you can alter your target market to be a certain geographical location or demographic.

Customer Experience is key

It is a no brainer that treating your customers right is the best business advice we could give! Creating an environment where your patients feel safe and comfortable is key! Clearly label everything, organize their shopping experience, and keep a clean store. You want your brand to be associated with a positive experience, not one that is cluttered or overwhelming. Even it if it is subconscious your patients will appreciate a simple and easy visit.

A happy customer will result in more customers in the future. We are living in the age of constant information overload from online searches, where personal recommendations or 5-star reviews can be the difference between a new customer visiting your clinic or not. There are many different review sites, but Google seems to be the most widely used. Positive reviews are a great way to bring in more customers and improve your search rankings. Remember above when we mentioned Google paid ads? Well another way to bump up your rankings (without paying) is by getting positive reviews. The higher your review ranking the more Google will show your business in the search results. Encourage your customers to write reviews of their experience, the more positive reviews the better. On the flip side, unfortunately a negative review goes a lot farther than a positive review. Make sure your patients feel well taken care of and have the best experience possible.

Again, there are many different avenues and successful ways to market a business. The best thing you can do is market YOUR business and be true to YOUR brand.

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