‘Today’s consumers live multi-dimensional, multi-platform lives,’ reports Forbes, ‘and their buying behaviors reflect that.’
Luckily for ECPs, the challenge isn’t as big in optical as pure retail. Yet!
According to The Vision Council, when asked if they used the internet for any purpose when making their most recent eyewear purchase, 22% of eyeglass purchasers answered yes. And only 4.2% of them actually bought Rx eyewear online.
COMPLEMENT, NOT CANNIBALIZE
The pressure is nonetheless on to both build a stronger online presence and create a seamless transition from in-store to online, and vice versa. It’s all about complementing, not cannibalizing your physical store. Here are a few suggestions.
SELL A NICHE
Position your online self as offering just one or perhaps a few niche products online.
- Plano Sun. Sell plano only and create the product yourself by combining great lenses with unbranded, fashion-forward frames.
- Accessories. Create an extension of your physical store by selling great chains, colorful cleaning cloths, cool cases and holders, even fun jewelry and other items that express your personality.
- Retro. If you love retro, and your patients know it, then create an online shop that sells everything vintage — from gramma’s hankies and broaches to vintage frames and sunwear.
TRICKS OF THE TRADE
- Exclusivity. Take one of your popular frame lines and sell it in just one exclusive color, style or finish online only.
- Demographics. Direct your online offerings to a different customer. Aim for a different demographic by selling a lower-cost product online, or maybe marketing contact lenses to Millennials online.
- Circle Back. Whatever you sell online, look for ways to bring customers back to brick and mortar. Provide a special offer. For example, ‘Order your frame online and bring it in-store for a discount on lenses.’ Or, ‘Buy online, adjust in-store.’
Consumers don’t just want to buy online. Increasingly, they are seeking a seamless, online-enhanced experience in your brick and mortar location. How? Create a Selfie Corner to encourage sharing with friends and family. Incorporate technologies like virtual try-on and video sharing. Why? Because peer recommendations carry 10x more weight than staff recommendations.
So, what do consumers want from you? ‘More in-store technology capabilities,’ reports RetailDive.com, ‘as well as deeper, more personalized integration between brick and mortar, mobile and online.’