As Online Sales Grow, Labs Adapt to New Service Requirements

By Sarah McGoldrick / Contributing Editor
Monday, August 2, 2021 1:44 AM Despite a slump in optical retail sales caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, 2020 was a strong year for online optical sales. Total optical retail sales fell 17.4 percent from December 2019 to December 2020 and $36.05 billion in retail revenues during the same period, according to The Vision Council’s VisionWatch report for Q4 2020. Yet online sales of eyeglass frames topped 9 million pairs during the same period, a 22 percent increase over the previous year.

Maintaining Lab Service in the COVID-19 Era

By Sarah McGoldrick
Sunday, April 25, 2021 10:00 AM It’s been a tough year for the optical industry, especially optical labs. Soon after COVID hit regional lockdowns began, and many eyecare practices closed or reduced their patient hours. Labs felt the impact almost immediately. A Vision Council Member Survey conducted in Spring, 2020 found that the majority of labs had reduced their production and service hours in response to decreased demand due to COVID-19. (see Fig. 1) As the volume of Rx orders fell, many labs reduced staff or staff hours. However, the decrease in sales from brick-and-mortar optical locations was partly offset by an increase in online optical sales, as homebound consumers increasingly turned to eyeglass e-tailers. Labs had to quickly adapt to these shifting market dynamics by adjusting their service and delivery strategies.

Pandemic Prompts Labs to Embrace New Marketing Approaches

By Sarah McGoldrick
Sunday, April 25, 2021 9:59 AM More than a year into the COVID-19 pandemic, optical labs are still adjusting to the disruptions the pandemic has caused to the eyecare practices and optical retailers they service. With many lab customers operating on limited hours and under strict health restrictions that prevent making in-person sales calls, labs have had to develop new approaches to educating ECPs and staff about new products and services. In particular, many labs are shifting from face-to-face product demonstrations and traditional marketing materials and embracing virtual consultations.