Traditional Goes Digital As Omni-Channel Offers Opportunities to Optical

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LensCrafter's Joe Pflanz, senior director, omni-channel customer experience.

LensCrafters has already implemented a wide range of digital tools to enhance its well established optical retail operations throughout the country. Joe Pflanz, senior director, omni-channel customer experience, LensCrafters, discussed them in his dba LIVE presentation "The Interaction of Digital and Traditional Retail." They include a virtual try-on tool with Facebook integration, a lens simulator, an in-store virtual mirror, the AccuFit digital measuring system, and even a low tech quick-replace eyeglasses case containing all the necessary information for replacing a pair of eyeglasses.

Pflanz also announced that LensCrafters is rolling out iPads to all of its associates at all of its stores. He demonstrated this by wearing an iPad up on stage hung by a strap across his shoulder. They are already in 300 stores, and "over the next five weeks, every one of our associates will be equipped with one," he said.

Reiterating a recurring theme repeated by presenters throughout the dba LIVE event, Pflanz said, "our category is behind" when it comes to omni-channel retailing. For example, 83 percent of those in the market for consumer electronics pre-shop online, while only 16 percent do in our category, he said. As an example of how "we shoot ourselves in the foot" in the optical industry, he even cited incredulously an example of someone shopping at a major optical retailer who was told "don't go to our website, they're like our competitor."

"How are you evolving in your experience to meet your customers' needs?" he asked the audience, and then he reiterated, "The reason we should do omni-channel is because it's what the customer wants. Omni-channel customers are four times more valuable than single channel customers. The opportunity is huge," he concluded.

Click here for a PDF of Joe Pflanz's Vision Monday dba LIVE presentation: "The Interaction of Digital and Traditional Retail." In addition, see this special video message recorded for dba LIVE from LensCrafters’ president, Eric Anderson, that illustrates LensCrafters’ omni-channel philosophy.