19 Eyecare Retail Trends For 2015


Retailing is Retailing but Retailing in 2015 will be changing at rapid speed and becoming increasing challenging for Eyecare Professionals. Between the mix of fashion, medical, insurance, educated consumers, smart phones, communication platforms, better target marketing, technology, personalized experiences and a variety of solutions, all retailers including eyecare professionals have to adjust and adapt to change to compete in the market.

Our top 20 Retail Trends for 2015

1.) Customer Service-   

Self serve check-ins and check- outs have become the name of the game, saving retailers time and money. Vending machines are growing. You are seeing them everywhere and can buy anything from cars to iPads including contact lenses, eyeglass accessories and sunglasses.

Stores like Neiman Marcus have a “location-aware” app called NM Service, in which you can send your preferences to the sales staff. When you check in, it gives the staff recommendations for you.

Same day and Free Shipping will continue in helping to drive online sales.

Selfie Friendly is the way to go.

In Eyecare:  EyeExam kiosks, online eye exams, sharing apps, eyewear apps are all growing.  You name it, you can get it online. Consider having a #Selfie #Saturday or Sunday for those to post their new pics on Twitter.

2.) Loyalty Programs  

Loyalty Programs are growing. Something to consider going forward is to put a loyalty program in place.

3.) Time Is Of The Essence (Customer Service)

The consumer wants it now and they can get it now with online shopping 24/7. Google is even beta testing Drone Deliveries in Australia.

Curbside pick- ups are not just for dry cleaners and restaurants. Both Target and Stop and Shop and Curbside are testing this concept in the USA. Shopping is done via an app and the pick up is at the store.

In Eyecare: Beef up the website and promote selling your products online. Consider for those fast pickups a curbside pick up.

4.) Location Is  Not King:


It is predicted a Mall as we know it today will be completely different in 10 years due to innovation, community and consumer needs and wants. Smaller neighborhood shopping centers will the consumer local as well as entertained. Major Retailers, such as Wal-Mart and Target are opening up ‘Boutique’ or smaller niche stores to compete in the neighborhood  marketplace.

There are quite a few reasons for this. The consumer is web rooming first, finding products they want online and then going to them using a technology called ‘Beacon=, which point the way using location based technology and Augmented Reality.

Shoppertainment is growing, making shopping an experience.  This aspect will continue to grow as the consumer becomes more jaded with the norm and is expecting a vital, interactive experience.

In addition the growth of smaller neighborhood shopping centers keeps the consumer local as well as entertained. Major Retailers are opening up ‘Boutique’ or smaller niche stores to compete in the neighborhood  marketplace.

Pop Up Stores are becoming the new norm. Both Google and Amazon and others are developing POP UP Stores.

In Eyecare: Re-look at small neighborhood revitalizations if looking for office options or growth. Think small and niche. Websites must be location and mobile friendly.

5.) 3rd Place Destinations Are Growing:

Go to the grocery store, pick your Starbucks and go to the bank. Bookstores have coffee shops and art, rooftop bars, free wifi.  All about getting the consumer to hang around and hopefully shop. Retail stores are having more events with collaborative vendors.

In Eyecare: Take advantage of this trend with Events. Trunk Shows, Art Shows, Wine Tasting, Tea or Coffee Tasting,  Nutritionists, Yoga Classes, are all interactive, entertaining events to bring in new and keep old patients.

6.) Types of Products  

The High End Luxury market  has never really died. Current trends say the Market going from high to low and middle of the road going away. It is about value and affordable luxury. 3D Printing is on the rise.

In Eyecare: Consider your product mix and re-merchandise to reflect these trends. You will see more Limited Edition eyewer products in the marketplace.

7.) Blended Branding and Collaborations  

Heineken 100 Jeans
Heineken 100 Jeans

You will see more Brand collaboration. Eyewear companies such as Shwood (Widmer Beer) and Louisville Slugger, Mercedes Benz sunglasses. Garret Leight (Heinken), Modasten with Art of Board, Gunnar with Heros of The Storm, Diane Von Furstenberg with Google Glass are a few examples of blended branding in the optical industry. You will also see ‘non-branded’ products such as Silhouette (Felder, Felder) on runways. Look for more

Strategic branding helps companies in sharing new products, promotions and marketing.

In Eyecare:  You too can take advantage of Blending Branding and Collaborations, either by brand blending with other retailers such as sporting good stores or special marketing programs and merchandising for collaborations. This is where some of your coop dollars can be used.

8.) Technology 


This is a whole post in itself. Eye Tracking, RFID Readers, (Radio Frequency Identification Devices) Virtual Reality, Smart Phones, Smart Bras, Smart Contact Lenses, Smart Glasses, Beacon and more will change the way we shop, the way retailers will market, the products they offer..

Technology can help any retailer to help manage their business. RFID trackers can measure what the consumer picks up, Eye Tracking can tell retailers where the consumer looks. This data can help in inventory management, personalized and customer information.

Technology continues to evolve into the Virtual Reality of See, Touch and Feel, interacting with a virtual environment.

In Eyecare: Eyecare Professionals can install Try On Technology as a start to evolve the Virtual Reality Experience. Again, get that website up and running. Talk about the products you offer, show images, describe the products.

9.) Sustainability  

The drive for sustainability will continue to grow. Consumers want to know who made the product, what the ingredients are, eco-atm1-537x428how sustainable is it and what are the ethics of the company. Numerous apps give the consumer the information at a point and click.  The growth of Eco Friendly products will continue to rise.

In Eyecare: This is an opportunity for eye care professionals to set up a ‘Sustainable Board’ with product knowledge about the company, the product makeup, the company give back program. Use Hashtags on Facebook #Sustainable #Saturday or #Sunday to feature particular brands.

10.) Waste Currency 

The first Plastic Bank, (Peru) started a movement, where people can recycle plastic to trade for education, micro-credit loans, tools, household items. In China, people can recycle plastic for train tickets We have Eco ATM’s, Terracycle (products). Recycling is Hot and companies are looking to expand recycling for dollars or store credit. Remember each plastic bottle is worth $.05.

In EyeCare– Consider putting in an Eco ATM or set up your office for some type of recycling program. Old eyeglasses, medical sharps are just a few ideas to combine not only sustainability and become a destination place. *

11.) Cashless Currency 

It is no longer, Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Debit Card or check. Add in PayPal, Google Wallet, Apple Pay, Bitcoin (Microsoft) Dwolla and Samsung (set to launch) with their own payment type. CurrentC (already  hacked) was launched by Walmart, Kmart, 7-Eleven, and Best Buy. More are sure to come as we evolve into a cashless society. Mobile payments are said to be at $90 Billion.

In Eyecare: Think about other options to make it easier for your customers to pay.


12.) Swapping And Short Term Rents Economy

About four years ago we ran a series on Sunglass Rentals. The Swap, Barter and Share economy is growing. Think AirBnB, think Uber… for short term rentals. For Swapping check out Swap.com, you can swap Food, DVDs, clothes, houses the list is endless.

In Eyecare: Eyecare Professionals can take advantage of this by offering Sunglass and accessory rentals.


13.)  Demographics

Everybody wants those GenY’s, but the reality in the eyecare market is the baby boomers. As the presbyopes and myopes age, they are looking to not only look younger, but to make their lives easier. Plus they are more active.

Women continue to be the largest market. Gen Y’s will continue to be a challenge to all retailers as the ways they shop are very diverse. Think Multi-Cultural.

In Eyecare: Relook at your demographics and patients.

14. Customization Is The Key 

Jamie Hansel wearing custom Frog Glasses from Luzerne Optical
Jamie Hansel wearing custom Frog Glasses from Luzerne Optical

Called Mass Customization and appealing to those who have everything, customizing everything makes shopping more personal and interactive.,  Jeans, Furniture, Shoes, Jackets, cereal, artwork, handbags, skincare, you name it you can customize it.

In Eyecare: BeSpoke Products, Interchangeable Temples, Limited Edition products and 3D printed eyeglasses and even colored contact lens are very strong trends. You can customize your lenses, your tints and labs such as Luzerne Optical have innovative custom options with photo chromatic lenses, lens decor and even lens shapes.

If you are carrying any products that can be customized, #HashTag #It, #Custom #Eyewear.

15.)  Security

We are all most likely on our 3rd or 4th credit card due to all the hacks. As we become a cashless society and the use of Smart Devices makes all at risk to hacking and privacy. The burden will fall upon the retailer to help protect purchasers and the purchasers will become increasingly more private.

In Eyecare: Change your passwords, put a privacy statement up on your website.

16.) Privacy

As the retailer data mines their consumer information, privacy will continue to decline. For retailers  it becomes an efficient way to manage marketing, sales and inventory. As consumers, we will be inundated with products to buy based upon our clicks. You see it on Amazon and other sites: other customers that bought this, bought this, based upon this, you might like this. Annoying but relevant to your purchasing.

Sites such as SnapChat, Silent Circle, Clipchat and Squawk will continue to grow, as the consumer is looking not to relive their personal communications forever.

17.) ESP Shopping

All that data- mining has paid off for the big retailer. The more information you give them, the better they like it. Trendhunter calls it Clairvoyant e-tail, where the retailer tells you what to buy: Others have bought this.. this goes with this that you bought.

In Eyecare: Consider putting on your site, customer that bought this.. also liked this,… Customers with blonde hair like these colors.. Customer who play volleyball use these sunglasses… Using that type of information personalizes the message as well as reinforces the popularity of the product.

18.) The No Sale Ad– Can you advertise without ads? Yes

We don’t want to be sold any more. Getting your message across without selling, can be a big challenge.

In Eyecare- Posting articles about health, funny jokes, recipes, events around town is the sale without the sale.

19.) Interconnectivity is Key. The way we get information, share information, socialize, communicate, make product recommendations and refer will continue to grow at a rapid rate.

In Eyecare: Re-look at providing ‘Shareable Stuff’ becoming Selfie Friendly

 The Challenge

  • Keeping up with Technology and Innovation
  • Keeping Customers
  • Getting Customers
  • Gathering concrete Customer Information and curating that information to provide relevant products and services based upon their needs.
  • Realizing the Consumer is in Control and managing that.
  • Consistently seek and consider Opportunities

There are those who let it happen, those who make it happen and those who wondered what happened. Which one are you?

Claire Goldsmith MidPage