Sunglass Hut’s New Miami Location Features New Tech, Design Elements

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MIAMI, Fla.— Sunglass Hut (SGH), part of the Luxottica (NYSE:LUX) Retail group, recently opened its largest store in the U.S. here, featuring a sunwear selection more than two-and-a-half times larger than the average Sun Hut store and employing several dispensing, try-on and tablet technologies to engage customers. A SGH spokesperson told VMail, “When new stores open around the U.S. and the world, these new design elements/technology advances will be included.”

The new store, on Lincoln Road in Miami Beach, is 1,875 square feet, more than three times the square footage of an average SGH store, the spokesperson told VMail, and features some 2,000 pairs of designer and performance brand sunglasses (a typical Sunglass Hut store usually features 830 on average, the spokesperson added).

With influences from South Beach, the new store design draws upon the “day to night” personality of Miami, with bright and airy space, matte and silver tiled “bling” wrapping the store and skylights and cove lighting combined with South Beach imagery through digital media screens, incorporating the Miami scenery into the store.

Sunglass Hut for the first time created a luxury shop-in-shop “to give consumers an elevated experience including additional customer service opportunities, refreshments and more interaction with our premium brands such as Chanel, Coach, Dolce&Gabbana, Prada and Tiffany & Co.” This new area is separated from the retail space with a white fringe curtain and is complete with modern chandeliers and a lounge space.

Self-shopping tablets also known as customer facing interactive tablets (similar to iPads), allow customers to dive deeper into the Sunglass Hut brands, explore additional products (e.g. styles and colors) only available on Sunglasshut.com while physically being present in the retail space. “This provides the customer with a personal experience and a multichannel presence with a higher degree of service. Shoppers can use the tablets for payment to avoid any lines or delays,” the SGH spokesperson said, adding, “Some SGH stores across the U.S. are also using this technology.”

Also, the new Sunglass Hut features self-shopping tablets as part of the customers’ experience as well as tablets for associates at point of sale. Sunglass Hut’s trademark Social Sun Screen will be available in the space for shoppers to try on their favorite styles, share pictures online with their friends and upload onto social networks. SocialSun is an interactive, try-on feature enabling users to take a picture and immediately email it to a friend or post it to Facebook so friends and family can give feedback on sunwear choices. The Social Sun Screens are now in almost all SGH stores, she noted.

“We are very excited to bring a new and innovative store to Miami,” said John Haugh, general manager of Sunglass Hut. “This city was the birthplace of Sunglass Hut and it’s very special to return to our roots and open our largest U.S. store in South Beach.”

Look for photos of SGH’s new Miami store to be posted online on VisionMonday.com later this week.