The Eyewear market is projected to have 11% of its total revenue generated through online sales by 2021 worldwide. With a market volume of US $31B in 2018, the United States represents the largest market, followed by Europe (Source: Statista). This presents a tremendous opportunity for online retailers
Eyewear frames have become a fashion accessory while vision correction has receded to the background. The annual growth of 2.2% in the Eyewear market and the Eyewear Frames segment constituted 25% of worldwide revenues and 6% of the volume sales in the Eyewear market in 2017 (Source: Statista).
Trends Driving Digital Commerce in Eyewear
Online wizards which guide step by step selection of products based on lenses & frame preferences are very popular and essential for the busy millennial as they research their optical products simplifying their purchase decisions online. These wizards are very precise in providing custom configurations for Spectacle Lenses.
2018 is the year of the Chatbots and the trend points to a global chatbot market of 24.3% Compound Annual Growth Rate. 45% of end users consider chatbots their primary choice for customer service inquiries (Source: Credence Research). In the context of Eyewear the typical usage is to help visitors with site navigation/search facets, prescription-related queries and other essential aspects of their user experience.
AI based Recommenders
Facial analysis and product visualization are key components for a recommendation engine for Eyewear but this alone is not enough. Incorporating customer preferences, customer assistants’ feedback and past purchase/search history will provide more precise and personalized recommendations to the customer.
Mobile Optimized Digital Commerce
In the world of on-demand and one-click shopping some interesting facts to ponder – 50% of Digital Commerce revenue will come from mobile users this year and 93% of people who use a mobile device for research go on to make a purchase (Source: Think with Google). For the constantly connected consumer, shopping never sleeps and it happens in hundreds of micro-moments throughout the day when making purchase decisions. The “Mobile first approach” is being pursued by many retailers to support this trend.
Enhanced Social Media Engagement
Native shopping (Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat), ratings, reviews, and user generated content are the popular trends in social media .It is projected there will be $172 billion worth of marketing spending on Snapchat during 2018. This trend is going to be a mainstay as social media engagement gets mainstream with millennials. In addition, Facebook Advertising and Google AdWords are being used for sophisticated retargeting.
Site search is an integral part of Customer Journey analysis and is key for conversions. The customers research extensively prior to the purchase. Better signal capture and boosting based on customer clicks will enhance the search results and provide better recommendations. Including recommender auto-suggestions, popular searches, synonym and full text search, personalized search, relevant facets/filters and using a high degree of relevance are all keys to enhancing the search experience. Not to forget the search results must be instant (sub-seconds) and highly optimized for performance.
This is a must feature on every eyewear website. This helps fashion conscious customers to try on their choice of glasses from the comfort of their homes before making purchase decisions. Shoppers are enabled with a vast range of choices to try-on and save the personalized look for further refinements
Create I-want-to-do video content for your website and YouTube channel to serve as resources for the customers. Online shoppers struggling with inputting their prescriptions into the online interface can get much needed help watching these “how-to” videos.
Visual Search apps allow customers to take a screenshot on Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat with images, and identify purchasable apparel and accessory items in the photo. The app allows customers to recreate the look with ease. Many retailers want similar apps that engage the customer and leverage the power of AI and visual search. It is an exciting new frontier!
Dynamic Shopping Experience
Customer Experience Platforms are focusing on the shopper and personalization as key elements to attract and retain customers to their websites. These platforms constantly evolve to keep up with the changing realities and expectations of customers by integrating with CRMs to provide a dynamic digital experience . Strategies also use previous Customer searches and purchases to create a custom personalized experience when they visit the site.
AI Driven Personalization
As AI becomes more mainstream and is making its way into products/services, Digital Commerce is not far behind. AI is being used with Augmented Reality to re-create in-store shopping experiences for customers. Personalized recommendations use AI to train the system to recognize the customer’s unique aesthetics and presenting products that appeal to them. AI coupled with Virtual reality, Visual Search, Voice assistants and Social Media is creating a new realm to engage the customers and improve conversions.
Identify the I-want-to-do moments in which consumers have a need and that the company can play a role. Identify these moments across the entire consumer experience and put them at the center of your strategy. Use of an integrated view of the customer’s interaction based on social media, mobile tracking/geolocation, analytics, CRM, mobile payments etc. to have targeted marketing strategy will help with conversion (in-store/online).