Posted by: juliegriffey | May 24, 2010

Imprinting Optical Products at Amcon: An Interview with Amy Finigian, Our Imprint Expert

Amy Finigian, Imprint Diva

Amy Finigian, Imprint Diva

This week we are discussing imprinting at Amcon with Amy Finigian who has been processing the imprint orders at Amcon for the past seven years.

What are the reasons customers choose to imprint instead of buying non-personalized items?
I’ve seen our customers use imprinting in several ways: give-away items at events/shows, retail items, “Thank You gifts” for buying their glasses from your optical shop, etc. Some offices retail non-personalized 2 ounce cleaner, and give the patient a personalized 1 ounce cleaner with their glasses. Some offices will retail the imprint, but have us include a line on the imprint that reads “return for ½ price refill” or “free refills”. This keeps the patients coming back to the shop so they will see new displays and maybe buy more retail items. Another benefit to having personalized items is it is very cost-effective advertising. If a friend of mine needs a cleaning cloth, and I give them one with my doctor’s name on it, it can easily lead to a conversation about how I like my optical shop or optician’s office.

What product do customers most frequently imprint?
The most popular imprinted items are the AR Kleen and the cleaning cloths. These are both products I use daily – (as you can see from my picture that I wear glasses). AR Kleen gets off any grease from accidentally touching my lenses, and the anti-static formula discourages dust from sticking. I never really used lens cleaner before I started working at Amcon, even though I’ve been wearing glasses since grade school. I used to just use my shirt to wipe my lenses; I already knew better than to use tissues or paper towels. I love the combination of the cleaner and cloth! I usually use either a Simply Kleen cloth or one from our Soft As Silk line. The Soft As Silks are my personal favorite. They feel the most like the Crizal cloth that came with my glasses, but they are much bigger, so I have a better chance of not accidentally touching the lens I’ve just cleaned. I also like the fun colors and patterns they come in.

Samples of Imprinted Lens Cleaner

AR Kleen is Amcon's most popular imprinted item.

Does the ink on the cloth seem to be an issue when cleaning your lenses?
I’ve had several customers ask me that, actually. I have not had a problem with the ink on any of the cloths, including our Vista-Chams. The ink seems to sink down into the cloth fibers so that we can’t really feel it. Some customers seem worried about the ink scratching lenses, so they will say to only use the back of the cloth or not to use the printed area. I’ve never paid attention to were the ink is, and I have absolutely no problems with scratched lenses.

How much extra does it cost to imprint?
Actually, very little! Since we manufacture our lens cleaner in house, the only additional cost is to set up the imprint, and the $25 if you want to add a logo or have a custom bottle. These are one-time fees, so unless you change to a different size or change your information we are printing; you only need to pay it on the 1st order. Printing cloths is only $.10 extra per cloth than the non-imprinted, with a $20 plate charge on most first-time orders. Flat packs are only $.19/ea, with no set-up or plate charges.

Do the customers get to see what the printing will look like before the order’s printed?
Absolutely! It’s actually Amcon’s policy to proof the imprint to the customer before printing any new order. We don’t send the order to production until I have an approval from the customer that I can keep on file, either by fax or e-mail. In addition, we like to make sure you will continue to be happy with subsequent orders, so we send a proof for reapproval if you have not ordered printing from us in over a year, just to make sure we still have the correct information on file.

How long will it take for the customer to receive their personalized order?
We have a 3-week production lead-time from the date of approval. When an order comes out of production depends on what our Production Department has on their schedule. They don’t only make the personalized orders. We manufacture all of our lens cleaners, regardless of size/personalization. That department also manufactures products in the Amcon catalog such as the Liquid Lens Interliner (LP-3004), Heat Transfer Fluid (SL-1030), Vista-Prep, etc. This keeps them constantly busy. If they happen to be running the 1 ounce spray bottles 2 days after you place your order, you’re cleaner could conceivably ship within a week, but the next order you place for the same product might take the whole 3 weeks before it ships. Our catalog states “Please allow 3-4 weeks for delivery” because shipping to some areas of the country takes 4 – 5 business days from St. Louis.

Can Amcon Rush an order if a customer has an event coming up that they are ordering? What if the customer offers to pay extra for Rush service?
We run into this periodically. Customers will order imprints to hand out at a trunk show, health fair, grand opening, etc. We do not offer Rush Service because we don’t think it’s fair to other customers to have their orders set aside to accommodate one customer. The best thing to do is to let us know when you place the order that it is for an event, and when you need that order to be in your office. If we can make that deadline, we will do everything in our power to get the product to you on time, and if we can’t, we’ll let you know right away, so you can make other plans if you need to.

Do you allow customers to incorporate their logo in an imprint? If so, what are the most common misconceptions customer’s have about putting a logo on the product they are ordering?
Yes – many products have ample space to incorporate the customer’s logo. However, care must be taken in preparation of the logo for imprinting. Customer’s frequently copy and paste their logo to us from their company website. Unfortunately, graphics on the Web are usually low resolution so that the page loads faster and not high enough quality for print. The higher an image resolution is, the better it will look for printing. Images must be a minimum of 300 dpi (dots per inch). We also need images to be in black and white only. We get many images in color, and when I ask for black and white, I then get a file in black, white, and about 5 – 20 shades of grey. Our printing methods do not support these grey areas (called “screens” in the print industry). We need solid black and white lines.

What are some other interesting products you imprint?
We also offer imprinting on some specialized items, such as the Eyeglass Case Labels, or the Magnetic Amsler Grids. Why should you have Eyeglass Case Labels (OS-1624 / OS-1625 ) printed? If your patient has paid $400 for their glasses, and paid $15 – $20 for the case to keep them in, then they have some sort of assurance that if they forget their case somewhere, the person that finds them can either contact them, or return them to your office where the patient can pick them up. The Magnetic Amsler Grids (JZ-9037) can be printed with your name and office number. You would instruct your patient to keep it on the refrigerator or some other metal surface at eye level. If they notice any changes in how they see the Grid, they have your number right there to contact your office.

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