of the things that it’s easy to lose sight of in today’s industry is what ‘quality’ actually means. And when I say that, I’m referring to it from a few different angles. It’s difficult enough for people that are actually in the industry to know what is “good quality” and what is “bad quality”.
Whether it’s a frame, a lens material, a free-form design, or whatever else, what kind of baseline do we, as professionals, have for determining whether or not something is actually “new and improved” or just yesterday’s leftovers in a new box? Other than taking a salesman’s word for it, we don’t. Everything always gets more expensive, and there are always more fancy terms that are thrown around, and it gets more and more difficult to be easily able to tell the difference between all of the possible products that are available today. If we consider how difficult it can be to stay well-informed as a professional - what hope does a consumer have at grasping the difference in quality?
All a consumer sees is what’s on the plate - and the plate today is really big, thanks to the internet. We have no good reason to expect the majority of consumers to know how we ‘see’ quality in products – all they can see is the cost. There isn’t an easy way for them to put a ‘low quality’ pair of eyewear next to a ‘high quality’ pair of eyewear and be able to tell what the difference between the two is. This was the whole concept behind our ‘food’ motif - it’s easy for someone to just look at a ‘low quality’ hamburger and a ‘high quality’ hamburger and see a difference. And you can get fairly immediate confirmation on how good each one is after the first bite. That’s not so with eyewear. Usually the only bite that the consumer feels is what they pay for it, and they don’t understand what benefits they are paying for, because they aren’t immediate. Since they don’t get the immediate gratification that they do with food, we need to be the educators for them. Sure, what you sell them may work better, and give them better performance, but it’s hard to equate. If I get fewer headaches in a few months because the lenses you sold me reduced my eye strain, how likely am I to even notice, let alone give credit to my eyewear? This is why it’s important to ensure that when you offer quality that the customer can see it and really know that what they are getting is “Grade A”.
Editor OPT Magazine