I remember going to the opticians when I was a kid and wearing a freaky contraption on my head to get my eyes tested. You didn’t have to work hard at looking like a nerd, any pair of plastic glasses will do that for you. Opticians often kept limited stock so you had to look extra hard to find something you can agree with in style. That bit hasn’t changed much, so I realised having grown up. The high street opticians are no different, they are still keeping less variety in styles, designs and brands because one they don’t have shelf space and second they want to promote only a limited number of brands.
Who would have thought that the ecommerce revolution will bring about a paradigm shift in the way people selected and bought glasses, online!! yes online. The online market for prescription glasses has gone up and customers are finding it more comfortable to buy online. This new shift in consumer behaviour and our passion to create ecommerce websites has led us to deliver a number of projects for online opticians and craftsmen. We launched a massive flagship store www.framesfoundry.co.uk early this year and this month we have launched www.sunglassshenanigans.com.
Technology for Opticians
Both of the above mentioned project are designed and developed in Shopify ecommerce platform. As Shopify Partners, we have created a number of online stores within different industry sectors. Shopify is a great platform which is easy to manage, comes with a free mobile app and huge library of apps developed by a growing based of software companies. Shopify App Store makes it very easy for businesses to launch a store and turn it into a profitable business in no time.
Custom Order Process
However, creating an online store for opticians is not that simple mainly because compared to a regular ecommerce website, an online opticians require every order to be customised with customer’s prescription, lens selection, add-ons and extras. This requires the order process, cart and checkout to be completely customised so the customer is able to enter his/her prescription and then select lenses which are suitable for the prescription. Further complication is introduced with lenses as there is a huge selection and type of lenses to choose from. Our custom order process on Frames Foundry takes an intuitive approach and presents the customer with choices based on the frame selection, usage of glasses and lastly prescription. With this automated order process in place, the optician can be rest assured that the customer will enter all the correct information and will be sold the correct pair of lenses. However, keeping the UK regulations in mind, the order still has to be approved by an Optician.
Now comes the next question which prevents a lot of people from buying glasses online. How do I know if the glasses will suit me without trying them out. Well the IT geeks have invented the Virtual Try-Out feature which shows how the spectacles will look on the customer’s face. The customer can either upload his/her picture or use the webcam to take a picture. Then our technology simply shows the selected pair of glasses on the customer’s face/picture. Voila, click on the BUY button.
Tech for the online opticians is developing at a fast pace and the day is not too far when an eye test can be carried out virtually. High street opticians are already using tablets to take PD measurements of patients. It is only a matter of time that a virtual eye test be carried out by the webcam. However, I don’t think UK regulations will allow that to happen in the foreseeable future.
We have developed custom applications, custom themes and bespoke ecommerce websites for companies in the optical sector. If you need help with your online optical business, please get in touch with us and we will certainly be delighted to help.