The ninth wave of the OMO Optical Monitor Silmo/Mido study by GfK pursues its observation of glasses wearers to better understand the developments of the optical and eyewear market. This new 2019 survey demonstrated the industry’s need to take advantage of the opportunities offered by digital technology, with consumers whose behavior is increasingly omnichannel. For these consumers, the convergence between the physical world and digital experience is an established fact. In particular through the use of the smartphone.
41% of the people surveyed compare prices in the store using their mobile phones; 29% regularly purchase on online sites from the store; 18% take a photo and send it to a loved one to get confirmation that they are making the right decision; 15% take a photo as a souvenir or to communicate on social networks; 11% call a loved one from the store to get their opinion; and the same percentage of people scan bar codes or QR codes when these are available.
While the online sales of optical equipment continue to progress worldwide, physical stores remain the predominant setting for purchasing, with disparities from one country to the next. In the United States, 17% of prescription glasses are purchased online; 16% in China; 14% in Japan; 6% in Russia and the “Inner Five” of Europe. As for sunglasses, the perspectives of online purchasing will considerably increase by 2020 to reach 30% in China, 25% in Japan, 23% in the United States, 16% in the “Inner Five” of Europe and 10% in Russia. For sunglasses wearers, the predominant reason to purchase online is the price, followed by purchasing ease (shopping whenever, wherever, and enjoying delivery at home), the unlimited offer, and access to models and brands not available in stores.
The transformation of this business should incite brands and independents to turn towards a coalition of their sales channels to better understand consumer behavior and be able to offer a fluid, optimized experience. E-commerce will not eliminate traditional stores, but it imposes the integration of the more disorganized purchasing journey of certain clients. This journey might begin online with a Google search or on the social networks, seeking out advice or the opinions of other consumers, and continue with an online order followed up by an in-store pickup or, alternatively, by an in-store try-on and an online order. What is important for retailers is to not be excluded from this journey, and to successfully create a unique, fluid omnichannel discovery and sales experience.