A new style of opticians creating a buzz on the high street

In order to satisfy the expectations of modern consumers, eyewear retailers are competing with other high-street stores by creating attractive spaces with customer experience at the heart of the design.

Moving away from the clinical aesthetic typically carried out by opticians, forward-thinking brands are adapting to the new era of direct-consumer optical services. Polette and Finlay London are two brands doing it right.

By creating attractive spaces that connect e-commerce stores to physical experience, they create a holistic, streamlined experience for their customers.

As companies that are selling prescription glasses, online-only can be a problematic proposition. People with strong prescriptions are wearing their specs on a daily basis, so it’s important they are confident about their purchase. Opening physical stores helps these brands offer more to their customers; eye testing, style advice and the ability to try before they buy.

Alice Allsop, Product Manager at Finlay London, explained, “Although a lot of places are moving away from brick and mortar stores because of the drop in the high street, for an opticians and sunglasses brand, this was the way forward.”

Originally an online-only store, Polette was searching for a way to bring its online shop the real world. Florijn Steenhuisen, market developer at Polette explains “We are an online concept and we have these showrooms as the physical expression of the website. People still order on the website when in-store, but we want to show them that they can trust us and give them a nice way of placing that order.”

Image source: Finlay London

Polette has Bouncepads installed in all of their showrooms. These are dotted around with the Polette online store open in the browser, so customers can purchase their frames for home delivery. Finlay London uses theirs for seamless point of sale (POS). By implementing updated POS systems or payment via the website, Polette and Finlay London offer easy payments in-store, that mirror the online purchase journey their customers are used to. By combing iPads with the right software and a Bouncepad enclosure, iPads become an integral part of the space whilst still allowing the eyewear to be the focus of the room.

Image source: Polette

Offering en vogue frames, these brands have moved from online-only entities to physical spaces creating a buzz on the high street. Being reactive to the state of retail, design and customer experience are at the heart of their concepts. Luring them in with quirky interiors and homely atmospheres helps them break away from the typically medical atmosphere of opticians.

Check out our case studies with Finlay London and Polette here.