Making It One of a Kind

By
NEW YORK—Personalization, individualization, customization, made-to-order, bespoke, it goes by many names but the idea of creating something that is one-of-a-kind for a specific customer has always held a certain amount of appeal and, often, comes with a hefty price tag.

However, there are a few eyewear brands that are making customization more accessible to the masses without the price tag that this sort of personalization often commands:

Oakley

Oakley has offered some variation of customization for years, all the way back to the original Blades that had swappable parts, but the customization program as it is known today started online seven years ago, essentially to use up leftover parts. It has changed quite a bit over time and in the last two years Oakley has taken a more “consumer first” approach.

“Our goal was to not only enhance the product offering but the consumer experience,” said Roeya Vaughan, global category director of custom for Oakley. “There are two things that set our customization program apart. One, our customers can customize on performance aspects like lenses, tints and impact features. The other is the consumer experience that offers a fully interactive encounter, which we can now bring them together in the store environment.”
 
 
Oakley's Custom Experience at the NYC 5th Ave store.
Photo credit: Moment Factory

Oakley completed the full Custom build out in all U.S.-based O stores in May and will complete the international roll-out by the end of June. “We’ve also moved toward offering the same experience whether the customer is online or in-store, the only difference is that not all stores have the lens etching machine, but both offer the all-hand assembly and same product offering,” she explained.

It is an investment that is paying off. “Before the full retail store rollout, 30 percent of sunwear sales in-store came from the Custom program,” added Vaughan. “Since, we’ve seen a 10 percent delta, just enhancing the experience had driven double digit growth for us. Online it represents 40 to 50 percent of our sunwear sales and is a huge piece of our direct to consumer business. For men’s sunglasses globally it represents 14 percent of our business.”

“It is a huge revenue opportunity but more significant and valuable is the way it connects us to the consumer. Our Custom consumers are the most engaged and loyal. The typical customer has five or more pairs of Custom glasses and they gift Oakley’s twice as often as our other customers,” concluded Vaughan.

Ray-Ban

Luxottica recently launched the Ray-Ban Remix program offering customers the opportunity to entirely customize their own pair of Ray-Ban sunglasses by mixing and matching front and temple colors, lens options and offering a personal engraving on the temples and sunglass case.
 
The customization screen on www.remix.ray-ban.com


“Offering a customized program was a natural progression for Ray-Ban whose brand message is about ‘Never Hide.’ Never hide being you, celebrate the individual and express yourself,” said Holly Rush, president of Luxottica Wholesale North America. “It also builds a stronger emotional connection between the consumer and the product. The custom style possibilities are endless, consumers can get creative and truly make them their own.”

Available online only at www.remix.ray-ban.com, Remix currently offers a limited selection of classic Ray-Ban styles, including the Aviator, Ray-Ban Original Wayfarer and New Wayfarer available in both opaque and shiny, among others. Continued plans for expansion of Ray-Ban Remix will include new styles, prints and lenses.

“Ray-ban.com is our brand epi-center. It’s the first place loyalists go to learn about the brand and everything Ray-Ban,” added Rush. “We’re continually looking for ways to evolve the offering and meet consumer demands. We are now introducing prints to Ray-Ban Remix and worked with an artist to create a print inspired by Brazil on the Ray-Ban 2131, the new Wayfarer style. We’re also introducing a limited edition Ray-Ban Remix Ambermatic Wayfarer. Only 500 will be available for personalization. Ultimately, customizing and personalizing the overall experience is the natural evolution and where the future is.”

Izod
“2014 is the year of personalization, and it is one of today’s biggest trends when it comes to fashion,” said Peter Friedfeld, executive vice president of ClearVision Optical. “We created this collection because consumers want to have more input with what they wear and how they wear it, so personalization allows the user to create something unique that best reflects their personality.”

 
The Izod Personalize window cling and a selection of frames.


Their new Izod collection provides ECPs with an opportunity to offer customizable eyewear right in the dispensary. Designed for young men, the collection includes four clear acetate front shapes and nine temple colors. The front can also be further personalized by using a standard tinting machine to dye the clear fronts any color. ClearVision is creating a program that will offer services such as tinting and hand painting to its accounts.

At point of sale, the ECP receives the complete merchandising package. “The Izod display is at the center of our merchandising program,” continued Friedfeld. “The countertop fixture displays all four front shapes and the full set of nine temple color options. This makes it easy for the ECP to demonstrate the 36 color options in a small footprint.” A full suite of in-store merchandising materials also accompany the Izod collection.

In the future, ClearVision plans to grow the Izod personalized collection by adding new eye shapes and temple colors, as well as suns. They will also introduce the concept into their Izod Boys collection and are considering including women’s styles.

Converse

Converse will be launching eyewear customization kiosks at independent eyecare stores this summer with licensor REM. The free-standing displays will include an iPad that walks the consumer through the custom options, including choosing from a series of custom patterns, or having their name, favorite saying, a phone number, or the like, engraved on the inside or outside of the temples and sent back to the retail location for delivery.
 
​The Converse Custom standing displays and frame options

“It’s true customization with infinite choices,” said Mike Hundert, CEO of REM Eyewear. “We’ve created a center where consumers can play and design, an exciting new way to engage customers to enhance their experience of buying eyewear.”

REM will begin rolling out the program later this summer and will be offering two different display options, a standing display or a countertop display, both equipped with iPads. Upon signing up, the displays, which also showcase the eight available styles in the collection, will be available to eyecare professionals for a monthly membership fee of $100. This fee covers costs for the kiosk, an iPad and eight sample frames, one of each style. The book price for the basic frame is $57.95, and two laser options are offered; one that customizes up to two surfaces for an additional $10 to the dispenser or up to four surfaces for an additional $17. The retail upcharge is $20 and $35, respectively. As an incentive for carrying Converse Custom, REM will offer ECPs a 50 percent rebate if more than 50 frames are sold within their first year of enrollment. ■