Not If. When? Not Why. How?
The advent of retail e-commerce in the eyewear business has been like a slow whirring sound, rumbling in the distance, getting louder year by year, month by month, bit by bit.
Some people heard that sound right away, knowing that the new tools of digital media technology and a changing attitude among consumers toward the online buying experience would transform business opportunities.
Business-to-business commerce online has also been gaining traction for its abilities to create efficiency, reduce costs and streamline or amplify communications. E-tailing to consumers means the same thing. Yet established retailers and dispensers in categories ranging from music, automobiles and books, to movies, clothing, shoes and hearing aids have felt threatened by it.
And now, the whirring sound has become louder in the realm of eyewear. Not just sunwear and readers, but eyewear, prescription eyeglasses (!) which need to be tried on, measured, fit, adjusted, explained, recommended and processed. Clang. Ideally by a trained professional who is to be valued for their service, and maybe not asked to provide a PD for free? Two clangs.
And what about brands? How do they maintain their image, their position? Really loud clangs. And prices, what happened to targeted distribution and marketing? What do you do when consumers, educated by the web, ask more questions about pricing and can comparison-shop with a smartphone? BOOM.
It’s complicated. But, also, it’s simple: the change is here, the noise is loud. It’s not going away. And eyewear is squarely in the realm of Brick & Click.
Turn to our
Cover Story and find out how the buzz from Brick & Click might impact your business or practice.