Bulk vs. Bank Contact Lens Pricing: How it Impacts Your Practice

The Alliance Buying Group is the eye care industry’s largest optical purchasing source, with special pricing agreements in place with eyewear manufacturers, optical equipment vendors, optical services providers and for eye care supplies.  We say this not to brag, but merely to point out the combined buying power clout that we provide, whether you operate a single eye doctor practice or a multi-clinic operation.  Having said this, it’s always our mission to provide our members and their patients with the highest quality eye care products, from designer eyewear frames to comprehensive lab services, all delivered in a timely and cost-saving manner.  Through The Alliance Buying Group, independent eye care practices of all sizes can and do benefit from our services, while saving a lot of money in the process.  One of the ophthalmic product categories in which we adeptly negotiate pricing for eye care professionals is contact lenses.

Differences in Bulk & Bank Contact Lens Purchasing Options

Bulk vs. Bank Contact Lens PricingWith the growing use of the Internet, and specifically related to online contact lens sales, practice parameters when it comes to stocking and selling contact lenses in your office are changing quickly.  Two viable contact lens patient purchasing options for independent practices currently exist: bulk and bank. Both have positives and negatives that need to be considered based upon your practice’s specific needs, and while balancing future financial objectives.  At The Alliance Buying Group, we make both contact lens purchasing options available to our members and then leave the choice up to you, the trusted eye care professional.

The Pros and Cons of Bulk Contact Lens Purchasing

Bulk contact lens purchasing refers to the more traditional approach of physically stocking a wide-range of contact lens products and powers in your office, and typically while enjoying significantly discounted, or “bulk”, pricing.  The benefits of bulk contact lens purchasing include these:

  • Patient convenience so that your patients can most often have their contacts the same day while walking out the door with a 6-month to 1-year supply.
  • Better discounting which can be passed along to your patients, or factored into your profit margins as needed.  Oftentimes bulk pricing affords you with significant discounts.
  • Encourages patient loyalty as they perceive your office to have all their needs met.
  • Better customer service in the eyes of your contact lens patient
  • Ensures a sale on-the-spot, and before the patient leaves your office.
  • Instant patient gratification, which keeps everybody from moms to Millennials happy.
  • Enhanced follow-up exam compliance and repeat patient visits

On the flipside, here are some negative factors to consider with bulk lens stocking:

  • Large upfront financial expenditures, especially when getting started
  • Space allocation within your office to stock and store the various lens products.
  • Inventory management which is time-consuming and labor-intensive for your staff.
  • Theft prevention because every practice has patients with “sticky fingers”, right?
  • Accurately choosing the right contact lens powers, types and vendors.

When is Bank Contact Lens Purchasing the Right Move?

Bank contact lens services provide your patients with the opportunity to purchase their contact lenses and have them drop-shipped from a warehouse to their residences or job sites, with your practice serving as the “middle man” in the process, and collecting a mark-up fee for those services.  The contact lenses can also be shipped directly to your office for pickup if that is more convenient for certain patients.  Here is the upside to using a bank method of contact lens distribution in your office:

  • Eliminating the need for extra storage space
  • No large capital investment required up front
  • Thefts of contact lens boxes greatly minimized
  • One less thing to worry about in your practice (peace-of-mind)
  • Staff time (and money) savings by not having to do inventories, lens stocking, etc.
  • Promoting your practice when patients receive their contact lens-containing packages at work, college, or elsewhere, and others see your practice’s name.

Negative factors to consider when choosing bank contact lens services include:

  • Smaller discounts off AWP costs and thereby reduced profit margins for your practice
  • Patients will be encouraged to shop online or around town for the “best” deals
  • Eliminates patient feelings of instant gratification
  • Diminishes your office’s perceived customer service slightly
  • Patients may feel less-inclined to be “loyal” to your practice
  • Shipping delays, for example due to inclement weather, may be involved

To Bank or not to Bank; The Alliance Buying Group has You Covered

As you can see, there are a number of considerations to be pondered when deciding which method of contact lens supplying works best for your patient base and ultimately your practice.  When you finally make your choice, rest assured that The Alliance Buying Group is here to serve our members’ needs by making available both bank and bulk contact lens supply preferences.  We will accommodate your practice’s needs, as we continue to offer a wide-range of product types, vendors and discounting rates based upon your contact lens purchasing decision.  In the end, partnering with our valued members while striving to deliver better overall patient vision outcomes is our mission!


For more information on our membership benefits, how to consolidate your practice’s bills into one monthly payment, or how to access special pricing for all your optical supply needs, call The Alliance Buying Group today at: (888) 466-8263 or use our convenient Contact Us page now.