Optical retail is a large and growing global market, and there is clearly a demand for omnichannel retail for optical stores. Around 75% of the world’s population use some form of vision correction – prescription glasses or lenses. Add to that the ever-growing demand for non-prescription sunglasses, and it’s not surprising that optical retail has grown to be a $114.95 billion market in 2021, nor that it is forecast to continue to grow at 6% over the next seven years.
There’s a lot to be won in the world of optical retail – but there’s also massive competition. Optical retail straddles two worlds – optical retail stores are part medical practice, with prescription lenses, and part fashion retailer, selling designer frames and sunglasses. That means that optical retail stores not only face competition from each other, but also from different retail segments, including department stores, speciality fashion, pharmacies and discount stores.
As we exit the worst of the pandemic, optical retail is presented with opportunities too: one of the effects of lockdown was that shoppers ‘rediscovered local’ with Forbes reporting ‘increasing footfall in local stores’. Shoppers are also returning in their droves to brick and mortar shopping – PWCs’ 2021 Global Consumer Insights Pulse Survey found that almost half the respondents now visit physical retail stores, with 75% planning to do so.
This combination of challenge and opportunity means that never has brand been so important for optical retail stores. There’s a lot to play for, and strong branding can help ensure they come out on top.
According to the Association for Customer Loyalty, one of most effective tools for branding is omnichannel retailing. They quote research that shows that ‘businesses that adopt omnichannel strategies achieve 91% greater year-over-year customer retention rates’. That is a massive step towards beating competition and taking a bigger share of the optical retail pie.
How does omnichannel retail for optical stores assist in the development of a strong brand?
What to look for when embracing omnichannel retail for optical stores?
Given that omnichannel retailing is an essential strategic solution, what should optical retailers look for when selecting omnichannel optical retail software?
Omnichannel retail for optical stores gives optical retailers an advantage in the “battle for brand.” They can harness the power of optical retail software to engage with customers, share expertise, showcase products and drive traffic into the retail store. They can enhance the customer experience and strengthen their brand – putting them ahead of their competition.
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