With the advancement of technology, the convenience of online shopping, and the increasing global trends, it is no wonder that the e-commerce industry is thriving. According to the US International Trade Administration, the UK, in particular, ranks third globally with the largest e-commerce market. This year British consumers have spent a whooping £18.6 billion within two months, representing a 1.6% year-on-year growth as compared to the previous year. E-commerce revenue growth is also projected to reach over £233 billion by 2025.

Out of the many businesses now utilising e-commerce, eyewear retail is one of the key sectors that has been continuously developing various features and trends to enhance their respective brands. This has helped boost the sector, which the ECDB reports will see a 16% growth rate by the end of this year. Given that the success of eyewear retail in e-commerce is unlikely to end any time soon, below are some of its most notable trends that are likely to continue in 2024.

Chatbot technology
One of the most significant advantages of chatbot technology for eyewear e-commerce is its ability to effectively handle customer enquiries and provide support throughout the entire customer journey. With the help of artificial intelligence and natural language processing, customers can receive instant and accurate responses regarding frame materials, lens options, pricing and shipping, and any other potential enquiry. By asking relevant questions and analysing customer responses, chatbots can also provide product recommendations depending on face shape, style preferences, and prescription requirements.

This real-time assistance streamlines the decision-making process and reduces the need for human intervention. This not only enhances customer experience but also increases the likelihood of a successful purchase, making it a trend that’s likely to keep being developed.

Product personalisation
The main reason why product personalisation has been very prominent is because many consumers have the desire for unique and one-of-a-kind goods and services. This is especially true for the eyewear industry, as the product they offer is meant to be used regularly, which is why it is highly likely that this trend will continue into the next year. By offering a wide range of customisation options, such as frame style, lens colour, prescription strength, and even additional protective properties, eyewear e-commerce companies can empower their customers to create a pair of glasses that truly reflects their individual style and needs.

Furthermore, product personalisation can also help eyewear companies stand out in a crowded market. With so many options available to consumers, it can be challenging for brands to differentiate themselves from competitors. However, by offering personalised eyewear options, companies can set themselves apart and cater to a broader range of customer preferences.

Free trials
Eyewear e-commerce has evolved to address one of e-commerce’s biggest pain points: customer try-ons. One of the most innovative ways this is being rolled out is via home-based trials. Through these, a selection of frames is sent to a customer’s address so they are able to try on glasses at home for free. This allows them to take their time assessing the fit, style, and comfort of certain frames before making a purchase. Home trials typically come with a pre-paid return label, allowing customers to send the frames back at no extra cost. This prioritises the customer’s convenience and eliminates the pressure of making a decision without first trying on a product.

Another method of free trial is the virtual try-on. This makes use of augmented reality to create a realistic and interactive experience for customers, giving them the ability to see how different frames look on their faces before making a purchase. This method not only reduces the likelihood of returns and exchanges but also improves customer satisfaction and trust in the brand. Regardless of the method, free trials have evolved from being a mere perk to an integral part of the eyewear industry and are expected to advance into the next years.

Promotional deals
Offering promotional deals is one of the ways in which eyewear e-commerce businesses attract new customers and retain existing ones. In a highly competitive marketing, offering promotional deals helps to stand out from the crowd. One of the most common types offered is a discount on the purchase of a product, whether a percentage off the original price or a specific amount less. Other types of promotional discounts include buy one get one (BOGO), free postage, or gifts with purchase.

Deals like these encourage customers to make a purchase by providing them with a financial incentive to do so. Additionally, customers will feel that they are getting a good deal out of the purchase and are more likely to return. With global economies steadily churning, it can be expected that enticing deals like these will propel the eyewear sector even further.

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