CRMoptics is a new player in the software market for opticians. They believe that software can (should) be free for opticians. “Every optician should have access to the same marketing tools as the large chains” according to Dominique Peters and Patrick De Jonge.
belgoptic.be: Mag ik met de deur in huis vallen? Jullie software is gratis, hoe is dit mogelijk? Laat ons eerlijk zijn, gratis bestaat niet....waar zit het addertje?
Dominique: Gratis bestaat inderdaad niet. Onze software is gratis voor de zelfstandige opticien doordat we linksonder in ons programma advertentieruimte hebben. Bril- lens- en glasfabrikanten kunnen deze advertentieruimte gebruiken om hun nieuwe collectie te tonen, promoties aan te kondigen, naambekendheid te verbeteren enzovoort. Via dit inkomstenmodel betalen de fabrikanten voor de advertentieruimte waardoor we de software gratis kunnen aanbieden aan de opticien.
belgoptic.be: Is the advertising space not disturbing?
Patrick: No, certainly not, we paid a lot of attention to that. The advertising space is located at the bottom left of the software. We also do not work with pop ups. If opticians want the software without advertisements, this is also possible for 200 euros per month. We notice that the majority of our opticians opt for the sponsored free version. Most opticians even find the targeted ad interesting.
belgoptic.be: Is there a lot of interest from the manufacturers in advertising through your software?
Patrick: The optician works with our software on a daily basis: register eye measurements, print the sales invoice, add stock and so on. Manufacturers are brought into contact with their specific target group on a daily basis through our advertising space. Through this way they can improve brand awareness, announce promotions and so on. Such targeted ads are extremely interesting. We already have several manufacturers who work with us. The more opticians use our software and the more manufacturers work with us, the more targeted and efficient it becomes for everyone.
Dominique: I lived in America for 5 years before moving back to Ghent last year. In America there is software for family doctors that works in the same way: free software with space for advertisements, from pharmaceutical companies, for example. No less than 42% of all general practitioners in America use this free software. I thought this was a great idea. It's a win-win situation!
belgoptic.be: You came back to Belgium with this idea, but what is your connection with the optical sector? Why did you apply this idea to this?
Dominique: I find the healthcare or medical sector very interesting. In America I was active in the medical software sector. Before I moved to America, I co-founded the current Trustteam in Kortrijk. With Trustteam we developed software for occupational health services. I knew I wanted to do something in the medical or healthcare sector. After speaking with a number of opticians, I felt great dissatisfaction. So many times I heard the same story: they have an old program that is no longer supported, but they pay a maintenance contract that has become three times more expensive over the years. “What are we actually paying for?” they wondered. People were really dissatisfied!
belgoptic.be: After all, the optical sector is very specific, where do you get the knowledge?
Dominique: I knew I wanted to make a good and affordable solution for the optical sector. Affordable has now become free, but I am indeed not an optician by training. In my search I met my co-founder Patrick. He has more than 12 years of experience in the optical sector. He had already made a software program for opticians as a secondary occupation, he knows the sector through and through. His customers were also dissatisfied with the situation at the time. Patrick wanted to do something there. That is why we have decided to join forces. That's how CRMoptics was born.
belgoptic.be: Your website says less costs, more turnover for the optician. Less costs is clear, but more turnover?
Patrick: We have built a link into our software, making it easy for opticials to follow up customers through postcards. If someone buys glasses, they automatically receive a nice personalized card after a month to thank the customer for the purchase. After a year, for example, the same customer receives an invitation for a free cleaning. Two years after their purchase, the customer receives a ticket for a new free eye test in the mailbox. and so on. This way of marketing and customer loyalty can be done fully automatically through our software. The optician chooses the different phases and times that are set for him. Afterwards, this all happens automatically. The optician pays 2.38 euros per ticket. No more hassle to design postcards, have them printed, export customer data, print labels, stick stamps, etc. Customers appreciate this enormously and they return to the optician much faster, resulting in a higher turnover. In short, this approach pays off!