Integrating virtual with reality in retail: Clearly's innovative reopening plan
VANCOUVER, June 23, 2020 /CNW/ - As retail stores across Canada reopen their doors, businesses are learning how to adapt their services to meet strict COVID-19 health and safety precautions. Clearly is going one step further.
The eyewear retailer's reopening strategy involves new technology that not only make shopping safer in a COVID-19 world but make shopping better for the world at large. This includes in-store Virtual Try On, advanced eye exam technology, and a convenient booking platform that minimizes public crowding and lineups.
Virtual meets reality
"Trying on eyewear is one of the main appeals of visiting an optical store. However, during these challenging times, putting a display frame on your face is a shocking notion to a lot of people," says Arnaud Bussieres, Chief Executive Officer.
While the team has a process in place to ensure each pair of glasses is rigorously sanitized with antiviral agents between each use, the company wants to make sure there are options for people who aren't comfortable with this concept. Clearly is now the first retailer in Canada to offer in-store Virtual Try On.
"If you'd asked us a year ago, we never thought that our Virtual Try On tool would be something that people would want to use when they were standing in front of an actual pair of glasses. However, we're excited to marry the tech capabilities of the website with our retail offering, to fulfill people's needs in this unique period of time," Bussieres says.
Each pair of glasses is equipped with a QR code. When you find a pair of glasses you want to test out, you can simply scan the code with your phone, and you'll be taken to a page on the Clearly website. From there, just click to 'try on' the frames virtually using your phone's front-facing camera. This feature also gives customers access to product information including price, customer reviews, sizing, and available colours.
Insight on eyesight – at a distance
Many people have waited months to get their glasses or contact lens prescription updated, only to face the concept of close physical contact during an eye exam. But Clearly has an innovative tech solution for that, too.
"Our partnered doctors can view the back of the eye from the opposite side of the room," Bussieres says.
At the retail locations in Vancouver and Toronto, customers can get comprehensive eye exams from Clearly's partner Doctors of Optometry. All eyecare professionals adhere to strict guidelines and wear personal protective equipment to ensure utmost safety when physical distancing is not possible. Physical contact is reduced as much as possible thanks to the industry-leading equipment that the optometrists have at their disposal, including ocular coherence tomography, retinal/ocular imaging, and automated phoropter/refraction.
So, what does this mean for patients?
"This technology makes it possible for the doctors working in our retail locations to conduct comprehensive eye examinations, while being mindful of physical distancing considerations in the COVID-19 reality," Bussieres says.
New ways to shop today
Physical distancing and limited store capacity are realities that retailers must adapt to for the foreseeable future – but that doesn't mean customers should have to bear the strain by waiting in lineup after lineup.
Advance booking is made simple, via a key piece of technology Clearly has introduced to its current retail offering. Customers can hop on a virtual waitlist, ditch the line, and receive a notification when there's space for them in the store. They can also book store visits and eye exams in advance.
"Nobody wants to stand in the Vancouver rain or Toronto humidity for any longer than they have to," Bussieres says. "We want to make it as easy as possible for people to get the eyecare they need and introducing a simple booking feature means that we can welcome our customers in on their own terms."
Beyond trying on glasses and getting eye exams, there are many benefits to visiting a Clearly store. Customers can get their measurements taken, get their glasses adjusted, and chat to eyewear consultants for professional advice about style, fit, lens options, and more. For more information on booking a store visit or eye exam, visit Clearly.ca.
Founded in Vancouver in 2000, Clearly's mission is to eradicate poor vision - the largest unaddressed disability - by 2050. Clearly serves this mission and its community by providing people with the most accessible and affordable optical products. Clearly was the first Canadian retailer to offer eyewear online and is now a global leader in the design, manufacturing, and distribution of glasses, sunglasses, and contact lenses.