2020 was supposed to be a very meaningful year to the eyewear industry as there is a well-known term – 20/20 vision, which was developed by Dutch ophthalmologist Hermann Snellen in 1860s, is used to express normal visual acuity. However, COVID-19 swept almost everything. Nevertheless, let’s not forget “Every crisis creates opportunities”. Winners who survive in this crisis are those who can adapt to the conditions and do the right thing at the right time. We talked to a number of bigwig to see how they respond to the epidemic. This time, we invited Jonathan, the owner of THE NEW BLACK OPTICAL, a popular eyewear shop amongst youngsters.
The epidemic has changed our lifestyles a lot, with more reliance on digital tools, social distancing, cashless payment, etc. How do you see the impact to the whole eyewear industry?
Even though the COVID has changed the lifestyle of the general public, like we spend more time on the digital world, we do more online shopping than before, however, eyewear is not that kind of product that we can shop online without hesitation. It’s different in the nature of the product. It’s because buying a pair of eyeglasses also involve personal try-on, professional adjustment and eye examination which can only be achieved through face-to-face services.
COVID shorten the time and frequency of people staying in physical stores, online platform is where they look for what they want before stepping into a shop. The number of Internet browsing will increase, but the actual transactions still rely on physical stores.
What’s the biggest challenge for the brand and retailer? How did you cope with the challenges?
COVID has affected the global economy. The impact to luxury brands is relatively obvious. Brands are cutting down scale of collection and also the amount of production. Under this interlocking influence, retail stores will also weaken their ability to attract customers due to insufficient new products. In the future, brands will continue to face considerable pressure, and therefore, in order to overcome the current constraints, retail stores should implement creative execution to enhance vantage point and improve sales performance.
How do you forecast 2021?
In 2021, deep-seated economic issues are believed to gradually emerge. If the current situation continues and the actual effect of the vaccine is unclear, 2021 will be a hard year, but I believe that we will be able to get back on track somewhere in the middle to the end of 2021.