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Top Tips For Redesigning an Optical Practice

The retail space at Perspective Opticians

Designing your optical practice? Here are our top tips for achieving a successful space.

We’ve carved out quite a niche when it comes to designing inspiring, effective optical environments.

Our extensive experience of retail design for the optical sector means that we understand the unique requirements of opticians – the need to strike a balance between delivering expert eyecare services and an exciting retail offer.

Balancing clinical needs with commercial goals

By applying the principles of good retail design, we’ve helped opticians balance clinical needs with their commercial goals.

We’ve solved commonplace and complex problems for opticians – that includes transforming traditional, tired interiors into modern retail spaces and redefining customer and patient experiences. We’ve helped practices leverage their space to create highly efficient working environments, as well as using intelligent space planning to reconfigure small or unusual spaces.

There’s both an art and a science to what we do. This isn’t just about creating the right aesthetic for your store – although that’s often the first thing people notice about our work. Behind every inspiring interior in our portfolio, there’s a wealth of strategic thinking aiming to improve your customer experience and commercial performance.

We have plenty of figures and feedback from our clients, demonstrating the difference we’ve made to their business. Here’s how our sector experience and strategic approach has helped clients solve some of their key design challenges in this space.

Designing effective dispensing spaces

Every optical practice is unique, but they all have the same goal – to win customers, increase sales and gain customer loyalty. That’s why the design of a unique dispensing space sits at the heart of the patient experience.

We know that dispensing is much more than just selling frames – it’s where opticians can focus on the needs of their patients, build trust, and create a connection. By curating a selection of products that match different people’s individual style and personal preferences, you can provide an unrivalled experience.

It’s this personalised experience which sets opticians apart from their competitors, builds loyalty and keeps patients returning.

Glasses display at Safarian and Simon Opticians

Creative merchandising: moving beyond rods, frame bars and lockers

One of the key questions opticians face is how to display a choice of frames to make the most of their retail space. The traditional route – stainless steel rods and frame bars – can feel dated and clinical. Does your current retail space create the visually stimulating experience you want for your customers-patients?

Our approach has always been to replace traditional rods and frame bars with bespoke solutions. We’ve seen a shift in the industry, and clients tell us that we’ve influenced this change of direction in optical practice retail design.

Moving away from rods and frame bars gives opticians the opportunity to be more creative with merchandising and frame displays. Adding the right fixtures and fittings and integrating different lighting, materials and colours helps customers distinguish different brands and styles and makes it easy to showcase certain products.

Enhancing the customer– patient experience

The physical space of an optical practice has long been about more than providing expert clinical eye care to patients. The ability to effectively sell products and services is increasingly important for opticians to be profitable.

Patients aren’t just patients. They’re fashion-conscious consumers, expecting individual, tailored customer experience – the same standard of service they have come to receive from mainstream retail.

As the pace of change and transformation across the optical retail industry continues, and competition intensifies, it’s crucial that optical practices keep pace with good retail design.

Our extensive experience makes us specialists in the strategic retail design and fitout of optical environments. From the practice layout to branding to the integration of clinical technology and the use of creative merchandising techniques, every design choice we make is driven by understanding what opticians need and what will make your business successful.

We’ve repeatedly shown that by helping opticians to think like retailers, we can create an optical environment that’s not only visually engaging, but also strategically designed to increase sales and enhance the overall customer-patient experience.

A great example of design that delivered staggering results was for Park Vision.

“Since the practice re-design, growth has impacted all areas and surpassed our expectations. The results simply speak for themselves


increase in retail sales


increase in overall sales


more clinical exams per week


new patients

Michelle Beach

Optometrist Director, Park Vision

Integrating technology and specialist optical equipment

We’re very well acquainted with the complexities of clinical environments, not least the vast range of specialist equipment and technology required. Whether we’re incorporating optical testing technology, audiology testing booths or specialist healthcare equipment, we use our ergonomic expertise to ensure your environment is efficient, safe and comfortable for your patients and your people.

As part of our layout for Vision + Eyecare, we designed a purpose-built testing and dispensing zone integrating advanced ZEISS optical technology. We were only able to do this successfully because our design team understands clinical and optical environments from both a compliance and a technical perspective – from the start, we knew how patients and staff would need to interact with the space and the equipment.

Maximising your practice layout

Working with small or unusual spaces is a challenge we often face, in the optical sector. You need the right number of testing rooms, space to create engaging retail displays as well as providing an efficient, professional patient experience.

Finding the best layout for your optical practice – one that’s functional and works for your business – underpins every one of our optical designs. By applying our experience of space planning and knowledge of building regulations – we’ve consistently shown we can help opticians make the most awkward spaces more effective.

Choosing the right contractor for your optical fitout

It’s not just about what happens onsite. As well as ensuring a smooth-running build process, an experienced, industry-savvy contractor will make sure your fit out is competitively manufactured and delivered to the highest standards, on spec, on budget and on-time.

We always advise that you tender your project to at least three contractors. That way, you’re more likely to receive competitive quotes and find a contractor who’s a good fit for you and your project.

It’s important to note, no two jobs are ever the same. Whatever the size and scope of your fit-out, costing the project is a complex process with detailed budgets covering materials, labour and levels of finish.

We’re committed to helping opticians to find the right contracts, and with our vast experience of working with contractors across the UK, we’ve cultivated a network of capable, highly trusted, industry-experienced contractors that we’re happy to recommend.

Seeing is believing

We understand that design can sometimes feel a bit intangible. It’s not always clear what you’re investing in. So, whether you’re planning a new optical business venture, relocating or reshaping an established optical business, we understand what it takes to create a successful space for opticians and their patients.

Reception area at Alan Tyler Opticians

Let’s transform your space together

If you want to know more, get in touch – we’re always happy talking shop.

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