Bricks & Mortar Optician’s Stores Are Finished – Aren’t They?

Lux invests $250M

Luxottica To Spend $250M On Bricks & Mortar

At the company’s Investor Day event on October 8, Luxottica executives announced that over the next three years, the Italian eyewear company will be investing $250 million in North American business units. The company plans to open hundreds of new Lenscrafters stores, triple the size of Target Optical retail businesses, and upgrade Sunglass Hut stores located in Macy’s and shopping malls. This investment is part of Milan-based Luxottica’s goal of growing U.S. retail business by 20 percent to $3 billion by 2016. Currently, sales in North America account for 60 percent of the Italian company’s total sales, making North America a vital market for the company.” http://bit.ly/17CkYWU

So bricks & mortar are finished eh? Doesn’t appear that way for now. When a company the size of Luxottica invests this kind of money to expand their bricks and mortar stores it’s not done without quite a bit of market analysis.

Clearly storefrontClearly Contacts has plans to open 26 bricks and mortar stores in Canada with one already operating in Vancouver and a second Vancouver location will soon follow. These stores are staffed with Licensed Opticians and Optometrists. http://bit.ly/16DiYfD

“Initially we thought we would open a store as a lab,” or a way to learn about our customers, he says. “But one of our big beliefs is that retailers are really going to need to serve customers wherever they want to be served”—via computers or smartphones or in traditional stores. – Roger Hardy, CEO & Founder, Clearly Contacts

Hmm. I thought the Internet was putting personal eye care past it’s expiry date? The above points to something different.

Many major optical chains are investigating, planning, implementing, or already offering an Internet option for their customers. They realized awhile back that business today has to be built on a multi-faceted business model. We have to be where our clients want to be. As eye care professionals we are held to a certain standard in the performance of our services. Internet providers at this time are not held to any standard at all. There are no standards enforced when it comes to the dispensing of contacts and glasses on the Internet. There’s talk of regulators, associations, and stakeholders collaborating on finding safe Internet business models for eye care. The first challenge will be the defining what is safe? Who will be held to these standards? Will the established Internet sellers pay any attention to standards? Can or will they be enforced? Or will the eye care buying public have choice as to what level of eye care they want or feel they can afford.

There’s no doubt that Internet sales will continue to rise especially with the cool technologies now available and on their way. This is only one facet of our delivery of eye care. I’ve opened my eyes to the bigger picture of our profession and I’m investigating the ways to add more facets to my regulated and safe, dispensing practice.

 

One thought on “Bricks & Mortar Optician’s Stores Are Finished – Aren’t They?”

  1. Great article, Lorne. It’s safe to say eyeglass retail is here for the long haul. However, a massive expansion by Lenscrafters, a strong brand established before the Internet, does not mean it will be easy for new competitors. By entering Lenscrafters territory, Clearly Contacts becomes the weak player on the street. The success of their stores will be an uphill battle.

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