Waiving Main Concern About Selling Glasses Online - Cannibalizing Your Traditional Practice

3 January 2015

One of the main objections ECP (Eye Care Professionals) have against setting up the online store is the fear that it will cannibalize their traditional practice. “If I tell my current customers that I now sell online they will go to my web store and then search Google for a similar pair of glasses and buy elsewhere”. This is a valid concern because traditional way of doing business is diminishing and every year you have less of those customers who walk in to shop for eyeglasses at your store. If you tell them that you sell online, you might fear to lose them too. Traditional customers are your current bread and butter and you simply don’t want to risk it all for the sake of trying how web world will play out for you. Did we get it right? Yes oh Yes.

While your concern is well understood, you don’t realize that amount of sales you will gain from going online will outweigh some of lost business many times. According to LiveOptical research and survey of current customers, it is reported that 40% of business has been lost in the past 10 years due to online. If you have a way of checking the loyalty factor of your customers, you will find that only 20% of your customers buy from you only and don’t shop elsewhere. Those 20% are really your bread and butter. If you open an online store, they will not buy from another website either. It’s because they want to buy from YOU. They might still buy from your website and even recommend your website to someone.

The remaining 80% of customers is worth fighting for. Today, less than 1% of optical boutiques have complimenting web store. Those that do have online glasses stores are finding much more new customers than before. Our customer www.trendeyewear.com is one example. "We didn’t expect so many people would appreciate to be able to buy from our website and get the pair of sunglasses shipped to their home, cottage or even gift”, says Lorna Licensed Optician. “People seem to love to have a confidence that if they need adjustment of repair they can walk in to our store, but don’t need to drive to make a purchase.”

You can’t fear to lose customer that you have already lost. Buying online is becoming a very tempting choice and according to IBIS World, online glasses sales will reach traditional sales by 2020. After 2020 online buying will outweigh traditional sale. If you open a webstore and notify your past customers about it, they will most likely check your website when buying their next pair.

Many online only eyeglasses retailers such as Werby Parker, ClearlyContacts, CoolFrames have opened retail locations because they understood that no one can replace human interaction with customer. Customers want to be able to walk in and talk to a professional IF they need at any time. Since you already have a physical store, your web store will be more credible than most of web sites that ran out of other states or even countries. It is not a secret that big websites such as SmartBuyGlasses operate from China. FramesDirect.com does not have retail locations and neither does Glasses.com. So your own website will be more valuable to your customers and their friends that above mentioned.

You can turn online sales and even returns into an advantage for your walk-in practice. For example if people buy online and happen to want to exchange or return their purchase you can encourage them to come to your store and try other frames. Some people who bought online realize that they would rather deal with optician in person and that person should be you.

As an alternative, you can use your web store as a digital catalog and don’t need to utilize the entire shopping cart functionality of LiveOptical. In LiveOptical with one click of a button you can disable the shopping cart and not show prices or not take money online. If your customers want to buy they would need to call and pay over the phone. This model will help you gain lost business and get new customers from your local area.