Recently when I was over in France on holiday I thought I'd do a bit of "Optician Tourism". I spent a few hours on the hunt for a new pair of glasses out there. The opticians in France for starters have a quirkier and, dare I say it, a more interesting range of glasses and advanced way of selling them.
Quick digital printing and customising frames
One smaller chain I went into, acuitis.com, blew my mind. They had a range of frames you would try on, the facial recognition software would automatically resize the frames to fit your face perfectly, show you how they would look and they could then digitally print them in the colour of your choice quickly. Wow!! All for less than a designer pair of glasses.
Websites more advanced
Before visiting the opticians I checked out some of their websites. They were clear and stylish. Beautifully laid out. Take one of their largest chains, Optic2000, on my mobile you could take a pic of yourself the frames would be overlaid (using augmented reality). Yes, I've seen this before, but this worked well and something I've seen to often in the UK.
You could also search for frame by colour, size of frame and by the shape of your face.
More advanced way of selling
In the UK you go into your opticians and the dispenser generally explains by brand the ranges they have and leave you to it. Everytime you put a frame on the dispenser compliments you on how good they look (even if they don't). That's kind of fine, but in France you felt like you were at a tailors getting a bespoke service, and they were suggesting frames that would suit your face for colour and size. Not in a pushy way, but actually it was fun!
One simple, yet great possible opportunity for all opticians
If you are like me and as blind as bat, the irony is that when you try on a pair of frames you can't actually see yourself in them. You end up fumbling around for your phone and trying to take a selfie, that's never flattering and won't sell the frames. One thought is for a technologist (like me) to set up a plug-and-play compact solution that any optician can set-up quickly and takes professional style photos that really sells the frames. This is eminently doable, for sure.
Did I find a pair of frames in France?
Yes, after just a few hours, I'd found 4 amazing pairs, when normally I struggle to find one I like! That hard bit was working out which of the 4 to go with.
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