The answer may well be yes, but it may not be a bad thing.
Online and bricks and mortar stores on a level footing on price, and service in the very near future.
We are all surely familiar with the term "showrooming"
where a person decides they want to buy a cheap pair of lets say "Ray-Ban" glasses or sunglasses online, but visit an authorised stockist in the high street to try the item on, touch and feel it, only to leave the store with a frustrated sales assistant, to buy the glasses online at a lower price.
The browser probably doesn't realise that the shop staff know full well what is going on, but unless, like us, the authorised retailer in town has a policy or procedure to deal with what can be a very time consuming, and even costly "run around" for the business used for these showroom purposes, some people will continue to revisit and use the unrelated business, to try glasses on that they will buy online. As you can imagine, We think this is probably a little less than honest as far as the practice on the high street is concerned, some likening it to outright theft.
At best, it is an unpaid activity putting strain on the store and staff,and ultimately could lead to a store closing.
This is something many genuine customers would suffer from as a result, as well as the business and staff employed.
In effect then, something that cannot be left to continue.
As mentioned, we ourselves combat this problem by making a charge for a consultation and the chance to try our many designer brands with a cup of coffee, a private shop if requested, and as much time as needed with free advice on frames and lenses. This charge is of course fully redeemable against the cost of any purchase. We have the option of waving this charge in the first instance and often do. We know many of our customers well, and there intentions and goodwill, as we are long standing, and so are they.
It really is very obvious when we come across enquirers who are shall we say, less than genuine in wanting to buy our spectacles, and this is where the consultation fee is usefull, as it compensates us for our time and efforts if the customer really does only want to purchase online . Needless to say, this charge usually puts this type of person off, and leaves our stock untarnished for the genuine buyers, win all round we think, except for the "imposter" ( said with tongue in cheek)
What is not so common knowledge, is that the internet although usefull, is not always as it seems.
Over half of what is bought online, is returned.
Up to 80% of online buyers have said that they are less than happy with the online purchase they have made recently.
Many "buyers" have found after making payement, that the goods do not exist, merely a picture of ghost goods.
Many orders online take weeks and weeks to arrive and are not in stock when paid for.
Fake goods are a hugh problem It isn't illegal in some countries, and you wouldn't be able to inforce rights.
Old, discontinued and unguaranteed goods are common.
Sizes and colours are misleading.
Here's the thing, BESPOKE MADE ITEMS LIKE GLASSES,
are not an item that is governed by online selling and distance selling legislation, they are exempt.
Reading the small print in terms and conditions of online spectacle retailers is interesting, and should be a little off putting for a buyer, rights are very limited, and virtually all problems lead to no refunds or only partial refunds, shifting responsibility to the buyer.
No face to appeal too, can be very frustrating.
Remember, if you buy from outside the UK, then our civil and consumer laws may not apply, and certainly cannot be inforced.
So, to the changes afoot.
We all know that the UK government have stated that they are looking to tax online sales, and charge high street equivalents of rent and rates etc, and also tax companies outside of the UK, at the same rate as our inland high street business.
This will no doubt increase online prices of in this case, designer spectacles.
But........Here is the RUB, for online sales of branded designer glasses and sun eyewear.
Most brands are owned by the number 1 largest manufacturer of designer eyewear, under license and with their owned brands, Luxottica Eyewear. They are a hugh international business based in Milan, Italy, and own many other brands such as Oakley, and have the rights to make and wholesale many other brands like Michael Kors, Polo, Armani, Persol, Channel, Tiffany and many more.
Along with Safilo, Marcolin, and Marchon, the other three Italian based designer eyewear manufacturers, the big boys have decided to stop the internet in its tracks, and they may well have the mite to do it.
They have declared war in 2018 to protect their brands.
Contracts now have to be signed to be a supplier of these companies brands, and the seller should promise to sell the merchandise only as and where agreed, in a fitting manner considering the prestige of the brands. The identity of these brands has been built up over years at very great expense by the brand owners, and is to be protected.
These companies have set out to ensure they stamp out unauthorised supply of their brands to unauthorised internet suppliers as well as unauthorised bricks and mortar
Old, discontinued grey market suppliers will have no more access to branded overspill. Neither will large supermarket chains be able to source grey market goods abroad.
Fake goods sellers will be pursued, and made known online as fake suppliers, and third party platform sellers will find supply is no longer easy or available.
Surplus stock is to be destroyed.
We think all in all, the cost may rise slightly of the products, but the majority of purchasers will be made in authorised stores in the high street, allowing better choice, better service, and a better all round experience for the customer, befitting of the brands involved.
Our prediction is more trade back on the high street, less unhappy internet buyers with problems with poor quality, old or fake goods. In the long run all will benefit.
After all, who wants to buy glasses with no back up, guarantee, despite the promises, fake, old and out of date products, when they can enjoy the experience instore of buying and trying authorised products, presented,and sold as they were meant to be.
Importantly, backed up with a rock solid guarantee.
We are as authorised suppliers , being kept informed by the brand owners, of plans afoot over the next few years, and have to say, they make sense for all, especially the end user, the customer. We are looking forward to even more brisk trade over those next few years, as partners with these forward looking, world leading manufacturers
Remember this, who wants to wear fake glasses,bought online, certainly not an appreciative designer wearer that knows the value and prestige of a great looking pair of quality designer specs. We know this, we see these people every day, the future looks brighter than you may think.
Call in to Ilkeston Factory Specs with our 1 hour sevice (with your prescription lenses) stocking as authorised retailers, all the top brand designer glasses in our large shop floor retail premises.
We are better stocked than Boots or Vision Express in the Nottingham or Derby areas, just bring your prescription.