If you are one among the billions of people who wear glasses for vision correction, you very well know the spectacular change this simple accessory brings to your life. Whether it is for medical reasons or just a fashion statement, the specs or shades you wear completely change your look and your view of the world (pun intended :D)
Agree, don’t you?
Propelled by huge demand, the global market value for various forms of eyewear is expected to be around $132.9 billion in the year 2019. What’s more the sales figure is projected to grow at a steady 7% year on year in the coming five years.
Although the market is mainly dominated by offline stores the trend is fast changing with the global ecommerce boom. To go by figures, globally 8 million pair of prescription glasses were sold online in the year 2017 and the graph has been moving north ever since.
Although this is a very small percentage of specs sold annually, the increasing adaptation of online shopping is all set to change the statistics in the near future. Also, add to this the online sales of style wear, i.e, coloured lenses and goggles, and the figure goes much higher.
Wondering what do all these figures and stats indicate?
Simply put, selling glasses online presents a great business opportunity for entrepreneurs who are searching for a niche to start their online venture. And, haven’t you been doing all the brainstorming to find a new business that has constant demand and steady growth in the coming years?
You certainly were! And let me be honest with you, this sounds like an answer hidden in plain sight.
So, need more facts and figures before you consider this industry to build an online store for your business?
We at StoreHippo have put together some fascinating trends to help you make an informed decision. Have a look;
Growth Trends Of Online Specs And Shades Industry
- 1% revenue for the worldwide eyewear market will come through online sales by 2021
- Global eyewear market is forecasted to be worth 178 billion U.S. dollars by 2023
- The industry is growing at an average of 7% year-on-year
- The market is expected to grow 1.5X between 2017-2023
- Globally 1.3 billion people live with some form of vision impairment
- 17% of contact lenses that are sold every year come from an online store
(Source: Statista, WHO)
The forecasts and trends clearly indicate a growing online market for specs and shades. The best part is that you need not be limited to your local market for sourcing suppliers or selling your products.
With the advanced technology and connectivity through online channels, you can have a truly global business wherein your suppliers, drop shippers and customers can be located anywhere across the globe.
As this is a need-based industry vertical with a strong element of style associated with it, you have a good chance at success in domestic as well as international market.
Reasons To Start Selling Glasses Online
While there are so many other industry verticals to choose from, here are some really good reasons why you should opt for this niche;
- Mature and consistent market growth. With the increasing use of computers, laptops, mobiles etc. there is an increased need for vision correction.
- Frames and shades have become more of a style statement and young users usually keep changing them frequently creating a constant demand
- Double income families with a rising disposable income to spend on eye accessories
- Rising trend of using lenses instead of specs, which are more of a subscription-based purchase due to a preference for the disposable variety
- Easy accessibility to domestic and international online stores selling a variety of frames and glasses
- Improved customer confidence and adaptability to buying sophisticated and personalised products online
- Easy availability of suppliers and drop shippers in local as well as international markets that make it easy to source and sell a variety of eyewear
Ready To Sell Eyewear Online: Setting The Focus Right
When you are planning to sell glasses online you need to have a complete understanding of the varieties that are in demand. If you are of the opinion that eyewear just means vision correction and style based eye accessories, think again.
The industry has a much wider customer base which covers the following types;
- Prescription Glasses (the most common type used for vision correction)
- Stylish Goggles (shades, coloured lenses etc.)
- Low-cost eye accessories (used by fashion conscious users who want a variety of frames)
- Subscription eyewear ( like disposable lenses)
- Sports based eyewear (swimming, mountaineering, skiing etc.)
- Safety eye gear (used for high-risk mechanical or industrial purposes)
The most widely sold variety of eyewear is definitely for vision correction but the other types also have a sizeable market. Before you jump on the online bandwagon, you can research the market to see if it is feasible for you to cater to one of the niche segments that have a consistent demand.
Adding one of the niche categories (sports or safety based eye gear) to your online glasses store can give a special identity to your brand. Also, these products are much costlier than the other categories so you can ensure some big-ticket orders
Top 7 Challenges of Starting An Online Store To Sell Glasses
Before you embark on a new journey, it is good to make a detailed plan where the challenges and their possible solutions are factored in. This not only saves you from surprises but also keeps your progress aligned with your business plan.
Here is a list of challenges that you might face while planning your new business for specs:
Finding the right Technology partner
This can be easily handled by going with an advanced ecommerce platform that offers comprehensive ecommerce solutions. StoreHippo has already powered online stores for glasses and can help you start your own.
With portals like IndiaMART, AliExpress etc. you can easily build a network of suppliers. Directories like Sulekha, JustDial can also help you connect with local suppliers and service providers who deal in specs and goggles.
Delivering products timely to your customers doorsteps can be a challenge if you do not streamline your logistics right from the start. StoreHippo can help you with this by offering pre integrated and discounted logistics with ShipKaro.
Building Customer Trust
This is the key to success of any business and you can do so by collaborating with the right partners and suppliers who make the best quality prescription glasses as well as offer a wide range of fashionable goggles for your users.
Limited Payment Options
Many online sellers fail to realize the amount of lost conversion opportunities just because of limited payment channels. Facilitate your buyers by offering them multiple payment channels as well as COD to overcome this challenge.
Returns And Refunds
Return and refunds can be significantly high for the eyewear products if attention to detail is missing. Ensuring rigorous quality checks and maintaining a good quality catalogue of frames can help you minimize your returns and refunds.
Competing On Prices
Last but the toughest challenge is to beat the pricing of your competitors and offer a price that makes your target audience loyal to your brand. If you have the right supplying partners and a smart marketing mix you can nail this most difficult challenge of selling glasses online.
Giving An Edge To Your Online Business
With an overview of all the facts and trends in one place it becomes easier to overcome the challenges. Hereon, all that you need to plan and grow your business is a detailed strategy and a robust supply chain.
Once that is in place you should start putting together marketing strategies that are effective and use your resources efficiently. Once in place this will give you recurring sales with minimum efforts.
Wondering how to achieve this?
StoreHippo marketing experts bring a tried and tested plan to help you give an edge to your business. Without much ado let’s see what we need to do;
How To Create An Online Store For Glasses And Make It Successful
Spoil Them For Choice
This one is a no brainer. Customers just love to have choices as it gives them a sense of power of being able to choose one over the other. However, overdo it and you confuse them and lose a potential checkout!\
So how to balance it?
You can smartly breakdown your products in various categories and highlight the ones that you want to sell. This not only makes it easier for them to choose but also helps you cross-sell and upsell your products.
StoreHippo offers a variety of features like multi-tier categories, upsell, cross- sell, product bundling etc. to help you simplify the purchase decision of your customers and get better conversions.
The Lure Of FREE
Who does not pay attention to the word “FREE”? This is one timeless trick that always yields quick results. Whether you are going through a slack season or just want to clear old inventory, this is the best marketing trick to instantly boost sales.
Plan your discounts wisely so that they do not eat into your profit margins. Offer FREE products, value added services(like faster delivery, doorstep eye check up for prescription glasses etc. to set your cash counter ringing.
StoreHippo offers you a powerful discount engine to plan your discounts, coupons and promotions.
Orders On The Go With Mobile Commerce
Can you deny the fact that our smartphones have literally become an extension of ourselves. Mobile is omnipresent and pervades all aspects of our life be it social, emotional or financial. No wonder then that we use our smartphones for searching and buying things.
By 2018, upto 70% of digital orders were coming through the mobile channel. So it becomes imperative that your online store for glasses has a strong mobile presence. With a high-performance mobile website you can not only achieve more checkouts but you will also find that your customers order bigger tickets and redeem more coupons on their smartphones.
StoreHippo equips you with a website that doubles as a mobile site without additional coding or replicating it. Built on the mobile first principle all stores powered by StoreHippo are Progressive Web Apps that look , feel and work like mobile apps even on poor connections. You can also build Android and iOS apps for your online glasses store at ZERO additional cost to increase your reach and conversions.
Well, tell me how many social media apps do you use regularly? Well 4to 5 on an average and it goes higher with the millenials who constitute the biggest online buyer group.
So, why not take our business where the customers are? You got it right, making your presence felt across the social channels can be of great significance for your online store selling glasses. While you should plan a budget for paid advertising on Facebook and other social channels, creating your brand’s page and promoting your products there doesn’t cost a penny. You can also engage with customer queries, run a competition, offer discounts etc. to create a buzz about your business.
StoreHippo offers you easy integration with multiple social channels. This makes it easy for you to create a digital presence across social channels to enhance your brand visibility.
Simple And Smart Search
Tell me what frustrates you the most on a site?
You are right, apart from the slow speed bad navigation and poor search are the biggest turn-offs. You certainly don't want to build an online store that is abandoned by your customers due to poor functionality. A good and fast search is the key to quick and higher conversions and you certainly can’t lose on this. Offering smart search helps your customers zero down on their desired products quickly making it faster to complete the checkout.
StoreHippo offers faceted search and good site navigation to help you get more sales, and faster sales at that
Product Display That Sells
Can you tell the biggest difference in the customer’s journey when he buys online and offline. Well, yes its the difference between holding the product and actually feeling its effect. While real shops give this instant satisfaction and analysis to the customers when you build an online store this element is missing.
Or is it? As they say, seeing is believing and you can give this experience to your customers by displaying your products in a way that despite being virtual it looks like real to them. This can be easily achieved by offering large product pictures, videos of the glasses being shown on different face types, product zoom and writing a copy for product description that tempts the customers to buy it.
StoreHippo offers you a 360-degree product view with multiple images and video upload feature. Just get a good copywriter and photographer and you are all set to sell more than your competitors.
Who doesn’t love to wear unique frames for their glasses? The frames not only define the personality of the user but also reflect their choices and preferences. Also, since the frames totally change the look just like a new haircut it becomes essential that the
That is why it becomes essential that you send unique and personalised recommendations to your customers based on their browsing history. You can use real-time alerts via email, SMS or Push notifications to gently push your customers towards checkout.
StoreHippo offers unified notifications to help you keep your customers engaged while they are looking for contact lenses and specs on your online store. Also, the powerful analytics at your dashboard helps you to analyze customer behaviour and browsing history to send the right recommendations and deals to the customers. You can also integrate various mall mailing software to send out offers and newsletters to keep your customers engaged and interested in your offers and deals.
Unless there is a new disruptive innovation that renders glasses obsolete, this industry is a flourishing one. You have a good chance of being successful in selling a variety of eyewear online in the domestic as well as international markets. All you need is a well chalked out business plan and a next-generation ecommerce store to kickstart your online journey.
So what are you waiting for? Build an online store for your specs and goggles business with StoreHippo and implement a mix of marketing strategy suggested above to take your business to new heights.
Ready to explore the platform? Start your 14-day free trial right away and check the features for yourself!