Optometry Podcast: The Lens Butler Interview Featuring Beth Samenuk

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With more than 2000 subscription box services registered in the USA, and a whopping 3,000 percent growth in the industry since 2014, it’s no surprise that contact lens companies are quickly jumping on the subscription craze.  But from Hubble Contacts trying to convert patients to ancient Frequency 55 material technology (good luck with anyone enjoying that comfort) with their flashy marketing campaigns, to Sightbox signing away contact lens sales from the doctor in exchange for reimbursing the exam, the subscription box market has seemed exceedingly non-OD friendly to date.  That’s a concept that Beth Samenuk, co-founder of The Lens Butler is trying to overturn.

With previous experience as a lauded pharmaceutical representative at Alcon, Samenuk says the idea for The Lens Butler was born as she noticed great new technology was coming with a pretty hefty price tag.  When Dailies Total 1 Multifocal launched, she knew the technology would help so many people, but she also felt that many patients would struggle to justify the cost.  To make the pricing of more expensive lens technology more palatable, the idea for a monthly subscription fee service was born.  By breaking down the cost into easy monthly installments with boxes that arrive every month, patients weren’t faced with that large up front price tag, but could still get signed up for a complete year supply.  In addition to helping with cost, her market research also showed getting new lenses every single month would be a great reminder for compliance with contact lens disposal.

But with a history of working closely with eyecare professionals, Samenuk knew the key to a successful subscription service was to partner with doctors, not with patients.  The Lens Butler model is designed to allow the doctor’s office to sign patients up for monthly shipments so the office is not having to keep track of ordering and shipping in those smaller amounts, but at the same time, the boxes arrive branded with the doctor’s office logo and brand messages.  The office can choose to send personalized advertisements or promotional materials in each box, discussing dry eye services or a promotion for a new pair of sunglasses if they bring the coupon back in for example.  Her goal was to make the subscription service a way to bring the office closer to the patient by creating monthly touch points, not a way to take the patient away from the office.

As more innovators and technology enter the marketplace, we are faced with finding ways to utilize new ideas to bring eyecare into the future. “Not all new technology is disruptive,” states Samenuk.  You can learn more about The Lens Butler by reaching out here.

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