Tips on how to order affordable, cute glasses online.
Eyeglasses are big business online. Millennials don't mind giving up the traditional brick-and-mortar stores for the low price and variety online. And that's a good thing.
Charles Passy of MarketWatch on Yahoo offers really solid advice for online buying in "How I got prescription eyeglasses for $11."
As a consumer it's important to really do thorough research. Do you need the glasses all the time? Do you have specific needs on fitting?
Not all companies are made alike.
Passy points out the American Optometric Association determined "44.8% of glasses ordered online arrived with "'incorrect prescriptions or safety issues.”' That's a lot of flaws, so make sure the purchase you want is what you want. Not what's available and that's about it. Bad plan. Look harder.
Many online retailers offer features to help, like a try-on feature that involves uploading your face and trying on choices.
So why are the price so low? Companies have much lower overhead cost. There's no rent or operation costs like utilities.
However, just because you want to use that deep discount doesn't mean you can avoid the optometrist entirely. Online retailers don't have doctors.
And eye exams are generally not cheap—even if you eliminate the bait-and-switch tactic many chains use. You know the 'free exam with purchase of glasses' where the frames are often over $100 before you even get lenses.
Research if any programs like AARP or AAA have a deal with a local business, too. Might not be your first choice, but it'll do.
And use coupons! Online retail coupons are a staple nowadays. Seek them out.
When you leave the appointment make sure find out your prescription. Passy says to always be upfront with your intent. It'll help make things clear when you ask for your pupillary distance (PD) measurements.
The doctor may not willingly give PD information since "it’s not covered in the same way under federal protection" and you're taking away a sale in their eyes. So make sure you choose a provider who will help, even if it costs a little more. If the PD info isn't released, a lot of the sites will help you figure it out.
Which leads to looking at online retailers. Base your choices on what you like. Not the first hit in a search engine. Read reviews on site and off, get a feel. If you're feeling trendy, you may like Warby Parker's under $100. The company offers a chance to choose 5 to try on before purchasing. Want a high-end brands with a little more left in your bank? Try FramesDirect.com.
Or if you're on a decent budget, try ZenniOptical.com. For the most cost saving, check out EyeBuyDirect.com and Goggles4u.com. Take the time when purchasing as prices can vary wildly.
Due diligence is definitely a must.
Online eyewear has gone from exclusive to trendy to the norm in a matter of years. And as the Millennials age up, the Internet will definitely bring more to the table. And as the next generation grows up, the use will be more commonplace.
And the tips that cover e-shopping definitely work hand-in-hand when dealing with a trip to the eye doctor. Money’ll be spent. It’s just a matter of how much.