TORONTO, May 19, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- COVID-19 lockdown laws didn't account for traditional retail that wasn't ready for an online-only business model. For example, less than 1% of small optical and eyeglasses stores have an online store. The rest were paralyzed for three months, struggling to come up with the money to cover rent with nil revenues. Even when they are open, it will be a long time before the consumer feels comfortable to contact-shop again. Not having an online store will further push the consumer away from brick-and-mortar. Brick-and-mortar risks turning into brick-and-mortal.
Marianna Levich, the founder of LiveOptical Consulting, a company that enables optical stores and optometry practices to sell online, was trying to break the mental barrier for store owners for years. "When we started our business, everyone around me thought it was a great idea, except for, as it turned out, optical store owners themselves," says Marianna. The most common argument that she heard when trying to sell her service was, "I don't understand why anyone would want to buy glasses online." They were inconvincible, despite admitting that online is the main reason for their sales decline.
Even before the coronavirus crisis, at least 30% of all eyeglasses were sold online in North America. There is no exact number. There are only stories of dynasty optical store owners of how they used to have a line-up in their store and a ten-people retail staff. With the emergence of eCommerce, the retail team was going down to five, three, and now, it's not uncommon to just see an owner working alone, even in a large location. Nevertheless, they often close before trying to have an online store.
Illuminata Eyewear, MyEyeQ Optical, Optima Vision Center, Eye Village signed up, realizing that an online store will give their customers a much wider choice of product and convenient way to pay, and their store more traffic and sales. "Stores either sign up quickly or no sales pitch will win them over," says Marianna.
LiveOptical Consulting provides a turn-key, custom website loaded with contact lens and eyeglasses data. "We will enter any brand into our customer's catalog to mimic their current brand offering and expand the product selection. Once it's set up, for a store owner, it should only mean how they take the money. Instead of taking money in person, they can now make money online."
The new normal means Online to Offline (O2O) for optical stores and other retail stores. With the service like LiveOptical Consulting, which requires no effort from the store owner, there should be no excuses, except for business is closed for good.
Closed store during COVID-19
Closed store in the mall during COVID-19 lockdown
SOURCE LiveOptical Consulting