December 5, 2023

Spif Panel

Think Shopping & Women

Eyes ahead! The technology shaping optical retail stores

4 min read
Eyes ahead! The technology shaping optical retail stores

The desire for clear sight is universal, and three-quarters of the global adult population uses vision correction products, with 64%* wearing glasses. That makes for a substantial global optical retail market, which currently sits at US$ 279.24 billion, with forecast growth of 7.5%** between 2022 and 2030.

Whilst that market did drop off during the pandemic, it is growing strongly again now, fuelled by a combination of an aging population, and time spent on screen increasing the incidence of short and near-sightedness.

The optical retail market encompasses optical retail stores, optometry practices, retail sunglass stores and ophthalmology clinics.  Optical retailers provide products in three key categories: spectacles (70%), sunglasses (14%), and contact lenses and solutions (16%)+.

iVend offers specialist optical software for retail stores.

Find out how we’re helping optical retailers stay competitive.

Because it combines medical practice and prescriptions with fashion frames and plano sunglasses, optical retail stores have different requirements from their more ‘mainstream retail’ cousins. Optical retailers have to manage detailed technical data and processes as well as the demands of staying on trend in the fashion world. They have to provide after sales service and be able to recall customers for regular checks, possibly over a lifetime.

Optical retail stores face tough and growing competition, in the shape of the online only eyewear retailers. Online stores provide a convenience that customers love, but cannot replicate the level of expertise and service that brick and mortar stores provide. Even so, they are gaining ground, and only 40%++ of shoppers surveyed said they will prefer shopping in person for their eyewear fashion and accessories.

So what does the future look like for optical retailers, and what’s going to be the secret to survival in times ahead?

Beating the online competition comes down to personalised service and efficient operation. Personalised service is the single biggest differentiator that optical retailers have against online only stores. But they still have to be operationally efficient, so that they can deliver an effective, streamlined service at manageable prices. They still need to stay ahead of trends like any other fashion retailer, and provide the stock that their customers are excited about wearing.

How does optical retail store software drive personalisation and efficiency?

POS software for retail stores is the foundation for personalisation and operational efficiency. Optical is a specialised form of retail, and requires retail technology to match. Optical retail software helps to make for a smooth, efficient and personalised shopping experience, through: