Optical e-retailer: stand out from your competitors! [part 2/2]

10 September 2019 • 5 min read

Nowadays, it’s no longer necessary to have an optical background to sell eyewear online. Competition between websites is fierce, so we have compiled the steps to follow in order to stand out and run a successful optical online business. In part of this article, we identified the different types of clients that are likely to buy eyewear online:

Les porteurs de lunettes ont des attentes très diverses.

  • The fashion victim will be looking for a trendy frame
  • The technology fan will want a product with innovative design
  • The « conventional » client, delighted with his current glasses, will be looking for the same model that he already owns.
  • Comfort orientated people will focus on lightness/ unbreakable features.





The buyer’s journey is the process buyers go through to become aware of, consider, evaluate and decide to purchase a new product (or not). Know this process helps website owners to understand what their buyers are doing, and how they can help them to move from one stage of the sales cycle to the next.

The following infographic takes a look at all the stages of the buyer’s journey in the optical world, from awareness to decision.  

parcours dachat EN

Now let’s go deeper into the customization needed to accommodate each buyer type and make sure they complete their purchase on YOUR website through a positive experience.



Offering easy website navigation is unfortunately not enough to get a competitive edge.

How your product looks and how is presented are essential factors to a site’s success, as well as the experience you can provide to ease the selection process.
New technologies now introduce virtual reality to allow online fitting and turn the webpage into a virtual mirror for an experience as close as possible as being at a real optician’s.

It is as well a way to raise the conversion rate and decrease the return product rate.


Product Images

Image de très bonne qualité femme lunette

Remember: only use the highest quality!

Think of an image as a key component of your website’s success:    visitors need to be able to assess the quality of the frame just by    looking at its photos. Large, hi-resolution images are always best,    and they should show the exact color and details of the frame.    Each  model must be visible from several angles (frontal, lateral,    three quarters) and, if possible, presented in a 360 ° format.


Make sure you display pictures with the frames worn by « real »    people so that clients can identify themselves to the product. Here are some tips to source these « real life » visuals:

  • Ask customers who have already purchased the product to send you a selfie
  • Check social networks (Facebook, Instagram) for photos of people wearing your frames
  • Ask your suppliers for visuals and marketing material of their official shooting sessions
  • Commission a photographer to take pictures of products worn by models

Always add an understandable description of the frame on the product page. Relevant info like frame dimensions, weight, material and specific uses (especially for sunglasses dedicated to certain sports, for instance) should be added.


Use Augmented REALITY to deliver the utmost CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE

To get as close as possible as the real in-store experience online, it’s essential to offer product visualization before buying. Home try-on services, widely used in apparel websites, are now also frequently used by eyewear businesses online. This service allows internet users to try a selection of frames previously selected online, keeping only the one that suits them best and returning the others. With this solution, the buyer touches and tests the glasses, but will have to wait for the shipping and then go to a post office to send back unwanted models.

Free shipping and returns are essential with Home Try-On, which means that this can become a very costly solution for the e-retailer who assumes all shipping costs with the risk of not materialize any sale. Also, because the frames are handled physically, they can get damaged in the process.



essayage de lunettes en réalité augmentée depuis la maisonIn recent years, another solution has revolutionized the optical industry:
virtual try-on.

This process uses augmented reality to offer an immersive experience.
Comfortably from your home, or on the go with friends, you can try on the frames of your choice using the smartphone, PC or tablet camera as a mirror.

This technology is already widely used in the furniture or decorative e-commerce sectors, but it is emerging in the fashion field, with virtual fitting rooms that let you "wear" clothes before ordering online (try before you buy).

Particularly useful for the online sale of glasses, the virtual try-on is already offered by several optical sites such as:

Product visualization before buying has now become a major tool of differentiation between e-opticians. It is now an indispensable way of successfully selling eyewear online, equally concerning to optical glasses which need the Pupillary Distance measure.



Once the style and color of the frame selected with the virtual fitting, the buyer continues the process by choosing lenses type, whether sunglasses or corrective glasses. This step is still too often neglected by optical sites, even though it is an essential cross-selling method.




Adaptation du site web en fonction des différents profils d'acheteurs

Think about the situations in which your users will wear your glasses, then create a dedicated section for each activity/ situation. By this way, your users will feel that your frames are perfectly adapted to their needs.

It will be as well an opportunity to design a customized offer with additional options, or products, that might interest your clients.

For instance, the Maui Jim site offers eyewear based on the user’s activity (golf, hiking, water sports, running, etc.).  

By integrating this principle, you get the opportunity to expand your inventory and offer a tailored experience, which will enable you to:

  • boost your polarized lenses sales
  • make additional revenue with lens treatments such as antireflection, anti-fog, anti-blue light ...
  • sell accessories (travel cases, lanyards, etc.)
Customers looking for glasses for sustained outdoor activity will be presented with:
  • a solid, light frame (hence the interest of specifying its weight)
  • a frame with polarized lenses with a tint that adapts to variations in brightness (photochromic lenses). 

Finally, your audience might be interested in products with an anti-blue light filter that will relieve their visual fatigue and improve the comfort of screen reading.

Giving your customers these choices, along with all the information they need, will differentiate you significantly from the competition and maximize your satisfaction rate.



After selecting the right frame/lenses, comes the crucial step: getting the visitor to complete the purchase and avoid shopping cart abandonment, (when a potential customer starts a checkout process for an online order but drops out of the process before completing the purchase).

This process must be simplified to the maximum not to discourage the user. The shopping cart should be a 1 step process with clear information, as straightforward as possible, and contain the following info:

  • basket validation
  • contact information
  • payment method
  • Delivery method
  • comments
  • purchase confirmation


If you have a physical store as well as your E-commerce, you can offer a Click-and-collect option so that your customer collects his frames directly in your store. It gives him the possibility to try-on the frames in the shop and having them adjusted on the spot if needed.

This practice guarantees the client peace of mind, especially when buying prescription frames. It reassures people who are still uncomfortable buying online a product that they’ve always bought at a physical shop before.

Knowing that a professional will be on the receiving end and be available for advice will help to convert first-time internet buyers into loyal clients.



Being present on social networks is essential for any business these days.

Your e-commerce site must therefore clearly link to your different accounts: 

  • Facebook 
  • Twitter
  • Instagram

This will ensure visibility and facilitate communication with customers. Even if you have a contact form on your website, most users will reach out via your social network accounts. We strongly advise to respond quickly to their requests, if possible instantly or at the latest 24 hours later: live social networks, monitored regularly with a rate high responsiveness greatly improves your image.

Do not undermine other tools such as FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) to immediately provide answers to the most common queries from users.

Finally, remember you need to convert your first-time clients into loyal fans. Why not offer them a coupon for their next purchase on the site?


[To go further, this article gives you all the tips to boost your online eyewear sales strategy]

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