As Technology Transforms Retail, It's the Personal Relationship That Counts


John Bonizio, owner and president of Metro Optics.

With three existing Bronx locations, Metro Optics is planning to add an "Apple store for eyewear," as owner and president John Bonizio describes it. His dba LIVE presentation on "Transforming the Optical Retail Experience" discussed how the practice his business partner founded in 1978 started out on the cutting edge and remains there. However, even with all the technical advances they've implemented over the years, he stressed that it's the personalized service that keeps them on top of their game.

After describing a new retail center that Metro Optics has planned for selling technologically advanced eyewear, Bonizio shared examples of the technologies his company has implemented in order to remain competitive, including using social media and search engine optimization to communicate via the internet. QR codes serve as technological word-of-mouth, and digital measuring equipment and videos throughout the store wow the patient. Ultimately, though, "it's really all about relationships," he said, and all this technology exists to serve the interaction between practitioner and patient, between optical retailer and consumer.

After citing that "people are afraid of Warby Parker," he said that they are "just another form of competition," and ultimately repeated that "the human interaction is really important."

Bonizio's comment "you should have as many glasses as you have shoes in your closet" brought applause from the audience, which related to a video he shared about the evolution of eyewear.

After he warned that "while we're all concentrating on insurance companies and the latest trends, outside forces are looking to take over our industry," he did observe that he feels technologically advanced eyewear still belongs to the eyecare professional. "It's Google Glasses. It's electronic eyewear. It belongs to us," he said. "There's no reason why people interested in this technology should not get it from their eyecare professional," he said, but he quickly concluded, "This industry needs to wake up."

Click here for a PDF of John Bonizio's Vision Monday dba LIVE presentation: "Transforming the Optical Retail Experience."