The world was a vastly different place before the internet. Imagine trying to buy something as simple as a pair of sunglasses. The first thing you did was head down to the local drugstore in hopes that they had something you could purchase off the rack. If that failed, it was across the street to the gas station. Your last resort was to buy your sunglasses from a magazine or catalog.
How things have changed. Today you can go online and choose from literally thousands of different pairs of sunglasses from big-name brands to ones you’ve never heard of. Smaller companies like Olympic Eyewear are more than capable of competing with giants like Luxottica. Thanks to the internet, the eyewear industry has come on leaps and bounds over the last couple of decades.
Manufacturers Had Limited Reach
It is fair to say that the internet has positively impacted both manufacturers and the customers who purchase their products. Prior to the internet, manufacturers had very limited reach. That is no longer the case. Now, their reach is essentially worldwide.
Imagine wanting to buy a pair of Italian sunglasses back in the 1970s. Without an internet and online shopping, your best hope was to visit an exclusive boutique in a major city like New York or Chicago. If you lived in a little town where there were no boutiques, your only other choice was to travel to Italy. Today, you can bring up a web page and click a couple of buttons. Done and done.
Consumers Had Fewer Choices
One of the natural results of limited manufacturer reach is few choices for consumers. Those of us old enough to remember gas station sunglasses know that, back in the 70s and 80s, there were only a handful of designer brands. Everything else was generic. You were either wealthy enough to afford the former or you settled for the latter.
As previously mentioned, today’s buyers can choose from thousands of different products. Thanks to the internet expanding manufacturer reach, we now have access to sunglasses from all over the world. That means no shortage of choices for the discriminating consumer.
The Number of Retailers Has Grown
Lastly, a product of the first two changes is that the number of retailers dealing in sunglasses has grown. Moreover, it has grown exponentially. You can now find retailers in malls, strip plazas, main street boutiques, pop-up shops, and across the internet via e-commerce solutions.
How has the internet made this possible? Consider two things, beginning with the fact that the internet has given retailers access to wholesale products from every corner of the world. This keeps prices in check and, as a result makes doing business as a retailer more profitable.
Second, the internet itself has given rise to e-commerce. It is now possible for a new retailer to set up shop with a minimal financial investment. Between great wholesale prices, cheap websites, and dropshipping, it is now easier than ever before to sell sunglasses.
The Future Looks Bright
It is clear that the advent of the internet has positively impacted retail. We can see it in retail sunglasses. Moreover, the future of retail sunglasses looks bright. Everything about the industry continues to move forward along with the evolution of both the internet and the retail marketplace.
There’s no telling what the eyewear industry will look like a decade from now. But at the pace of progress in the 21st century, it is a safe bet that things will look a lot different down the road. That’s a good thing. At least it should be.