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EDITOR'S LETTER

Wild.

Who’s afraid of the big, bad web? According to EB’s exclusive research, eyecare professionals rank online eyewear sales as their No. 1 business concern today.

But, is there nothing to fear but fear itself? Possibly.

According to The Vision Council’s October 2018 Internet Influence Report, just under 5% of eyeglass frames sold in the 12 months ending September 2018 were bought online. An 11% year-to-year increase in unit sales, that growth rate has pretty much stayed the same since 2014.

While online eyewear sales continue to grow, they are doing so slowly and without the fireworks once predicted and feared. In fact, even the original disrupter Warby Parker will soon boast more than 100 brick-and-mortar stores across the country. Whyever would it do that?

Because there is still—and will always be—an inherent need (and desire) to touch, feel, and see eyewear + experience the proper and precise care that leads to healthy eyesight.

Even more, independent brick-and-mortar eyecare pros are digging their heels in—utilizing incredibly innovative strategies and creative ideas to position themselves for success, even in the face of a world enamored with buying most everything online. ECPs are bringing in modern elements of appeal to create a compelling eyecare + eyewear experience—from vegan cafes and libraries in practice to concierge eyecare with after-hours cocktails and “Baby Days” with free exams for infants.

In this special issue, we serve up 10 intelligent ECP-tested competitive tips for thriving in today’s Wild, Wild Web World.

With EB Senior Associate Editor Kerri Ann Raimo at the highly inspiring (and style-soaked) ACE Awards in June, where fashion accessories, including eyewear, take center stage. The ACE Awards included a tribute to Marchon’s co-founder and former president and CEO, Al Berg, who passed away this year. A special thank you to Marchon and Safilo for their generous invitations to Eyecare Business.

Dig into our Into the Wild feature, starting on page 62 for 10 wildly intelligent ECP-served strategies for positioning your business for ultimate success in today’s uniquely competitive world.

Also in this issue, don’t miss EB’s exclusive interview with Warby Parker’s director of vision services, Pratil Lal, O.D., who shares WP’s plans for the future and its onus on partnering with optometrists in The EB Convo on page 30.

And, of course, there is SO much more! From EB’s top 8 eyewear trends defined for Fall 2019 in our On Point fashion feature in the FrameBuyer section starting on page 49 to EB’s BIG Vision Expo West Guide starting on page 73—we hope you enjoy the issue!

Erinn Morgan,
Editor-in-Chief + Editorial Director