Add a touch of glamour by creating an elevated brand experience, as portrayed above with Swarovski from Marcolin.
In today’s retail marketplace, forward-thinking retailers stand apart from their competitors by providing a unique and memorable customer brand experience. Welcome to the age of “Customer X,” where a focus on the customer experience is central to sustained retail success. To deliver a unique customer brand experience that imparts value and engenders loyalty, optical retailers are building partnerships with leading fashion brands.

Companies with world-class service have long understood the central importance of a positive customer experience in building brand equity. Disney “cast members” (employees) are taught that their job, first and foremost, is to create magical moments. Nordstrom built a famed culture of service in which store clerks go the extra mile to personalize the customer experience and “make the customer happy.” Nordstrom customers value the store’s selectivity of premier brands and its personalized in-store service. The latter is augmented by an online “live chat” option where a service specialist assists shoppers in finding items and collections that best suit their needs.

In short, great service-oriented companies succeed by exceeding expectations. Delivering exceptional service is part of their brand.

Call attention. Spotlight a premier brand line by setting it apart from the frame board. Marcolin offers a specially created selling environment
that attracts attention to, and promotes sales of, all of their brands. Two brands highlighted here are Tom Ford and Guess.
Today, a brand-rich experience is integral to the overall retail experience. The “brand boutique within the store” approach associated with European stores such as Galleries Lafayette now is seen at Macy’s and Neiman Marcus. In electronics, Best Buy has created “Samsung Experience Shops” to dazzle shoppers with astounding visuals and new digital possibilities that stand out among its vast offerings.

Optical retailers are heeding this trend by dedicating brand-specific areas, be that a boutique, a tower, or a specialized tabletop display, reinforced with brand messaging. Some optical shops couple eyewear and fashion accessories such as handbags or scarves from the same luxury brand. The message: Immerse yourself in a luxury brand experience.

Many retailers are meeting changing shopping patterns by moving to an omnichannel marketing approach. In this scenario, a consumer may first view and explore brands online—then be directed to an engaging in-store experience. There, an optical retailer can connect on a personal level, presenting frames and telling the brand story behind them. Also, they can offer try-on mirrors with social media connections for shoppers to instantly share selections with friends and family. Virtual try-on mirrors can extend inventory by showing a shopper how they look in the same frame in another color or in another frame in the same line but not in the store. Further, optical retailers can heighten the brand experience with brand story videos playing on screens right in the frame displays. Today, it’s not simply bricks vs. online; it’s a blended experience.

In this fast-moving world of retail, one eternal constant is brand power. World class fashion brands anchor the shopper in a known experience. And optical retailers who populate their shops with distinctive leading brands are, in a very real sense, partnering with those brands to build their own store brand. A rich combination of brands, merchandised well, says clearly: This is the place for a great shopping experience, look no further.■


For a practice owner or optical shop owner, engineering an exceptional customer brand experience is key to success. Partnering with Marcolin in this process can make it happen. The first step is to define your points of differentiation. Examine what elements make the customer experience in your practice or optical shop memorable. Here are how some of your peers set themselves apart:

  • Cultivate a knowledgeable staff: Consumers know brands and fashion trends. Your staff needs to be spot on! Partner with Marcolin sales reps with training so your staff can recognize consumer needs, talk fashion trends, and be confident in presenting the value and quality that a leading brand provides.
  • Create brand destinations: Consumers want a brand they know--but they don’t want off-therack sameness. Create a separate display environment that says loud’n’clear: Here are distinctive and exciting frames from a brand you know and value. A Marcolin branded tower or a Shop in Shop can provide that special place that creates awareness and promotes sales.
  • Come alive: Work with a Marcolin sales rep to plan and host a live event: a trunk show, a customer appreciation night, a launch party. New, distinctive styles drive repeat customers to notice and buy. ■