Keeping the Online World in Perspective

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It’s very easy to rush to judgment. Seems true in all aspects of life but it’s particularly true about a topic that hits many ECPs very hard, at least emotionally, which is the advent of online eyeglass sales.

The challenge is akin to the one faced by all businesses, which is that online creates a different paradigm and a different dynamic because of its structure, its imaging, and, combined with social media, its immediacy. The web and apps, particularly as smartphones and broadband accelerate access, speeds up everything and seems to transform it, too.

There is a threat posed by online, in the sense that the internet “magnifies” the competitive landscape, that it allows people to share, cut and paste many bits and bytes of it. It is “virtual” which means, sometimes, it’s not real or even accurate.

But, on the other hand, it is a powerful, new force in everyday life and business. And to object to online eyeglass sales because they are, well, online, is not enough of a reason to disparage the web completely. Or not to invest in an updated, professional digital presence on the web and social media, or even, to swiftly and automatically banish the concept of selling anything via the web 100 percent.

In fact, there are limitations to selling eyewear online. But every minute, there are folks looking to overcome those limits.

And certainly, it’s essential for every practice, every eyewear retailer, every ophthalmic dispenser, every eye doctor to make sure, that their philosophy, their services, their eye health expertise, their selection, their fitting knowledge and their on-site, valuable recommendations are communicated on a website that is modern and relevant in today’s world.

In this issue, VM’s John Sailer examines the kinds of approaches that online eyeglass retailers are taking to build their own connections with their site visitors. Ranging from more active marketing, including TV commercials, to resident experts who can answer user queries about products and selection, the sites that are seeing more “conversions” are slowly building something that all retailers fight for—customer loyalty.

maxelrad@jobson.com