I have recently done my own survey of on-line opticians web-based eye care retailers and their offerings. It is incredible the kind of stuff on-line eye care retailers come up with to attract customers these days. To be honest, I was always puzzled about why spectacle user would buy their glasses on the web. After all, a spectacle frame is a one in a few year purchase. why by on price only? What ever spectacle frame you choose should fit well, look good and should be made to last the distance. You would have thought, not a good starting point for buying on-line, especially as you can not get your eye examination done on the web either.
Having visited a few hundred optician websites and eye care retailers, I have to assume that there is a lot of business to be done. The deals on offer and the gimmicks the sites have to entice customers are incredible. One wonders though, how these on-line opticians manage to make any money. In addition to the usual all year sales offers with 20%, 30% and up to 50% discounts, on-line opticians even offer some or all of the below:
Worldwide Free delivery and shipping
90 days money back guarantee
12 month guarantee
Try at home service for up to 4 spectacle pairs
Price match guarantee
Free contact lens assessment
100% money back guarantee
Free prescription lenses
Given that some of the frames on offer where prices as low as £12.47, I have to question the quality of product on offer. No way that any eye care retailers can have all the above guarantees and shipping costs, provide quality product and make money.
Price is one thing, but finding a spectacle frame that fits you is a little more tricky on-line. However even in this department, the innovative web-based eye wear retailers have come up with a few solutions:
Virtual try on
Celebrities sunglasses gallery
Bestseller spectacle list
Efitting and Estyling rooms
Some of the tools available work well and are really winklashesandnails fun to use. I would still question the value. For once you spend time uploading you photo or using an image of a person with similar features to you. Than you have to move different frames into the photo to see how they fit your face. May be I am old fashion, but I find it a lot easier to pop down the local optician and try my spectacle frames. It is nice to touch and feel product before you by, get a feel for the build quality during the selection process, not just when the frame arrives in a parcel after the purchase. I find a visit to a high street optician quicker and easier. You can always combine it with a shopping trip and combine with other purchases.
I have to say visiting all these optician websites was fun, eye care products seem to be cheaper than in the high street and there were a lot of innovative features and tools to make you try and evaluate spectacle frames. I still question the value of on-line opticians for the simple reason that buying a frame is a very personal thing. You want the best advice, you want to wear the best quality and the best fit. As such if you want to look good you want to visit a professional optician in the real world.