Buying something as individualized and essential as proper eyewear online would’ve seemed silly just a couple years ago. No one could shop for glasses through a computer. You needed to try on frames for fit and fashion in person.
But, companies big and small put virtual sizing and tryout periods to work, allowing buyers to grab an Rx from an optometrist and buy more affordable glasses online. Whether the online store was Walmart.com or Warby Parker, no brick and mortar store to keep stocked allowed for less expensive glasses.
Now, GlassesUSA.com is all-in as a major player in the online eyewear market. The business model is much the same as its rivals. The buyer snags his or her prescription from the fancy eye doctor. At GlassesUSA, there’s an extensive collection of frames for single vision lenses, multi-focal lenses and sunglasses for both men and women.
The buyer chooses their frame style, indicating size and color preferences where possible. After the Rx numbers are all punched in, all prices indicate the total charge for frames and lenses. GlassesUSA makes the final product and ship for free. The buyer has 14 days to return the glasses for a full refund, no questions asked.
This reporter went through the ordering and buying process to bring a pair of GlassesUSA’s final product home for testing. I’d already tried Warby Parker on another occasion and found you get what you pay for there.
It’s convenient to have glasses delivered to your door without dealing with trips to a store, but the cheap frames and single vision lenses were simply adequate and wore out quickly. The service worked, but it was bare bones and made hay on an assumed air of New York hip.
GlassesUSA is looking to build its success by offering more of everything — more frames, more lens options and more brand name products like Armani and Ray-Ban laced into the mix.
My order demonstrated another key goal for the company — quality control. After ordering my test glasses, I received an email stating my product was finished, but indicated imperfections in testing. GlassesUSA remanufactured my glasses, retested them and finally sent them my way. I was left to wonder if rival companies would take that step.
Upon arrival, I got exactly what I ordered — a pair of single-vision, prescription sunglasses with sport frames. The lenses were good quality and the Rx spot on to my specs. The plastic frames were not luxury quality, but they were tough enough and looked ready to last. The fit was a little snug, but close enough to be effective.
GlassesUSA delivered on its promise — providing effective, affordable glasses that worked for my Rx’s needs. If the site maintains its quality standards, the service should emerge as a leader.