The Designing of Prosthetic Eyes and Selling Online: Take a Look at NW Eye Design

Northwest Eye Design was determined to improve their website. They wouldn’t compromise patient care when they set out to redesign it.

Although the Washington-based company is primarily focused on prosthetic eyes, they also sell other related products online like eye patches, lubricants and other accessories. Their business is built on patient care, and it was important that they communicate this on their website. While it makes sense to place patients at the heart of a practice in real-life, how can you make that virtual experience work?

We spoke with Emily Spiker, the administrative coordinator of Northwest Eye Design to learn more about how the family-owned company ensures that customers always come first.

Q. It must be interesting when you meet new people and tell them what you do for a living. How do you explain it in the simplest terms?

It’s always a fascinating conversation when people ask me where I work and what my job is. There are many questions. It is not a common field. Before I began working here, I had no idea about prosthetic eyes. People should know that prosthetic eyes can be made for patients who have lost their eye.


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Q. Q.

It is important to ask the first question: “How can someone lose an eye?” This could be due to trauma, disease, or cancer. Microphthalmia is a condition where a baby’s first eye is very small. You could have many different conditions.

Q. Q. Could you briefly explain what that means?

We are there for our patients as they go through this difficult time. We come together to support their grieving families and help them understand this new world.

As much as creating custom ocular prostheses, it’s also about caring for people. People could be satisfied with a prosthetic eye, and they would move on. We care about the person as a whole and are genuinely interested in their happiness.

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Q. Q.

This website is amazing. Each picture features a patient from our practice. Every photo was taken by the patient. We wanted lots of photos that conveyed the artistic talent that our ocularists possess.

It’s not all about the images. We mapped out everything from a UX (user-experience) perspective. We imagined what a new patient experience would look and feel like. Is it easy to find the information? It is easy to find the information. It was accessible to ensure that all our patients could access it easily.

Q. Q.

In 2016, I joined the team to assist with the online shop. It had not been maintained. I was busy updating pictures and pricing. Then, it became a part-time job and the position of Administrative Coordinator was quickly filled.

Q. Q.

In 2007, the store was launched online to help patients find the products they are looking for. Prosthetic eye products are sold as well as products that can be used to treat eye problems such allergies, dry eye, or eyelid issues. Patients can visit the website if they have any eye problems.

Q. Q. Did you end up moving the site to WordPress after a complete redesign?

We switched from Volusion to WordPress, and redesigned it for many reasons. It was outdated and very clunky for users. We decided to change our name and rebrand simultaneously.

Q. Q.

We saw the retail store as a major driver. We considered other options, but Shopify and the other platforms made it clear that if you weren’t gaining anything over here, then you were losing something.

There was no other platform that could offer everything. It was easy to switch to WordPress and WooCommerce.

WooCommerce is easy to use for people like me, who have never built websites before and don’t know any code. I can add products to the store without having to rely on a designer. This is a win from a cost perspective.

We can also easily modify and expand the functionality of the product even if it does not come with the functionality we require.

Q. Q.

Shipping all around the globe is possible, but international shipping can present challenges. ShipStation automates the customs process by automatically filling in all necessary information. To get your shipment out, there’s no extra work on our part. You just need to click and print, and you are good to go. We can also brand shipping labels and packing slips, which is important for us since we just invested in a new brand.

Q. Q. You use Jilt to send email marketing. Is this correct?

To automate customer email, we use Jilt. You can communicate with the platform in many different ways, including newsletters, follow up emails and abandoned cart emails. The effort to create these tools has been well worth it. It’s cost-effective and well worth it.

Q. Q.

Jilt is a relatively new concept for us. To revamp our marketing efforts, we started working with a web marketing company earlier this year. Email was an area they quickly identified.

They started creating content for our blog and running Google Ads to attract new customers. For remarketing ads, we also used AdRoll. This has helped increase first-time customer conversions as well as repeat business. Our sales had been on the decline for some time. However, we have seen a steady increase of 60% month-over-month.

Q. Q.

  • Akismet Anti Spam helps us to filter spam comments from products and blog posts.
  • WooCommerce tax simplifies the calculation and rate of taxes.
  • Tidio improves conversion rates and allows us to provide exceptional customer service via live chat.
  • WooCommerce Subscription allows customers to get the products they need on a regular basis. We are really impressed by subscriptions.

Q. Q. Before we close, what stories have you heard over the years that stand out to you?

Our boy has had a prosthetic sight since he was a child. He is now six or five years old. We all hug one another when his family visits. The best thing about it is that he always comes in wearing a different costume every time — Harry Potter, Peter Pan, etc.

He needed a new prosthesis after he outgrew the one he had. The socket is also cleaned and molded with silicone. It can be uncomfortable and strange for children. He was Indiana Jones dressed this time. We stuck spiders to the ceiling and played the soundtrack to distract from what was going on.

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