Retail Sunglasses: Why Gimmicks Aren’t a Long-Term Sales Strategy

At Olympic Eyewear in Salt Lake City, a dedicated team churns out products covering more than four dozen designer brands. The sunglasses that come out of Olympic Eyewear eventually make their way to retailers across the country. Those retailers sell Olympic brands by focusing on quality and price rather than gimmicks. They understand that gimmicks do not constitute a long-term sales strategy.

Retail is a fickle industry by any measure. Just visit your local big-box retailer and think about the selection of items on store shelves as compared to what you could have found a decade ago. It seems like people will buy something online over a traditional retail outlet if it is at all possible. And yet, eyewear is an exception to the rule.

As consumers want to actually handle designer sunglasses and prescription lenses before they make a purchase, the eyewear industry is not suffering from the same retail largess currently affecting other industries. People are a lot less likely to buy a pair of designer sunglasses online than, say, a smartphone or MP3 player. Therefore, brick-and-mortar retailers have to compete based on the in-person experience retail eyewear is known for.

An Underwhelming Gimmick

Competition for consumers in retail eyewear is all about offering them something they will not get elsewhere. Again, that puts a laser-like focus on the personal experience. What a customer experiences while visiting a retail outlet will largely determine if a purchase is made. It will also affect return visits.

In light of that, it’s fairly common for brick-and-mortar retailers to employ all sorts of gimmicks. Take Marie Claire as an example. They recently opened a pop-up store in New York City with the intention of spending a couple of weeks previewing what their vision of the future of retail is. In the opinion of several reviewers, the pop-up shop is underwhelming.

Engadget’s Cherlynn Low published a piece in late September describing her own experience at the store. She described it as being “stuck in the present” even though it was supposed to be a glimpse into the future. One of Low’s biggest complaints had to do with the presentation of retail goods.

The store was divided into three zones meant to appeal to different audiences. And although there were smatterings of technology throughout the space, Low wrote that said technology was hardly instrumental in presentation. In fact, she found the presentation of retail products to be rather boring.

Any short-term gains realized by the pop-up shop gimmick will be lost if Low’s perceptions were shared by other visitors to the store. Giving consumers an alleged look at the future of retail only to disappoint them with something stuck in the present is sure to hinder sales.

Give Them What They Want

Gimmicks have never been a good long-term sales strategy. The company that lives by the gimmick also dies by it if they do not keep up with the fickleness of consumer trends. On the other hand, companies that give consumers what they want don’t need gimmicks to succeed.

Giving customers what they want is the entire philosophy behind Olympic Eyewear’s business model. Through their retail partners, Olympic offers high-quality designer sunglasses at a very respectable price point. Their designs are just as attractive as the high-end brands worn by celebrities and athletes. And as for quality, they more than keep up with the high-end brands.

In the end, that’s what consumers want in their sunglasses. They want quality, designer good looks, and affordable prices. Olympic does not need gimmicks; they give customers what they want.

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