May 2, 2018
Online sales of eyewear by companies like Warby Parker and Zenni Optical are becoming a fixture in the optical industry. But the growth of these online retailers is far from over, according to a recent market analysis by Richard Kestenbaum in Forbes.
As companies like Opternative make it possible to get online eye exams, and companies like Warby Parker adopt that technology, online optical sales will really begin to explode.
Kestenbaum notes in the Forbes piece that Zenni is in the process of developing its own online PD measuring tool and glasses ordering system: “Zenni told me they’re close to releasing an online tool that measures PD using the camera on a computer or smartphone,” Kestenbaum writes. “That will accelerate the shift to online prescription glasses and eliminate a big part of the hassle. There’s still a cultural shift required for consumers to buy eyeglasses online but with so many product classes having made that switch already, it’s easy to imagine that with fewer hassles for consumers, eyeglasses online will continue to grow as a percent of the market.”
Companies like Zenni also are looking for ways to make the online eye exam experience seamless from smartphones. Kestenbaum reports that Tibor Laczay, the founder and CEO of Zenni, has created a device, the EyeQue Personal Vision Tracker, that works with a smartphone to test vision, and the output from the device that can be used to order glasses online.
The initial cost to purchase EyeQue is $30, but once you have it, a one-year subscription to the service you need to connect it to is free, and after that it’s $5 per year. “That’s it,” writes Kestenbaum. “For $5 per year after the first year, you can get an unlimited number of updates to your vision test.”