Ermenegildo Zegna, Viva’s European-inspired men’s collection, highlights tailored details, warm hues, and a timeless air, as seen in Style No. SZ3079.
It’s March, spring is around the corner, and you want to make sure you hit as many sunwear buyers as you can as the weather starts turning warmer. You’re also a realist…the economy is slow and consumers are watching every penny they spend. Is there a way to grow your sunwear sales in this market? Sure there is! Let fashion guide the way.
DATED IS DEADLY We have become a nation of sophisticated consumers. Style is an expectation in the products we purchase. Just take a stroll through your local Target department store, for example, to understand how prevalent good design is in even the most utilitarian of household items. Our homes reflect this consumer trend as well. Tune into Designed to Sell on HGTV and you’ll soon understand the fear of being labeled “dated.”
As buyers become more refined about fashion and personal style, accessories like sunwear play a more important part in composing the image the user presents to the world. In a recessionary economy, people may not be able to rush right out each season to purchase a complete wardrobe of the latest
Luxottica’s Anne Klein collection is synonymous with classic American style (shown here is Style No. AK3144).
fashion trends, but savvy shoppers will update their appearance with carefully chosen, well-designed accessories like sunwear borrowed from the pages of their favorite fashion forum. Why? It’s very visible so it makes a fashion impact.
FAST GROWING Sunwear is one of the fastest-growing accessory categories for both women and men. This trend is being driven by Hollywood’s darlings and their love of the instant style makeover that sunwear provides, the mysterious glamour intrinsic in a large wrap sunglass or the edgy retro chic of an aviator.
A BARGAIN The increasing popularity of high-end luxury brands of fashion sunwear is also driven by price. Sunwear is one of the most cost-effective ways of wearing a favorite luxury brand designer. The cost of a fabulous pair of Prada sunglasses from Luxottica Group is certainly a bargain compared to a handbag or pair of shoes from that design house. Remember that just because the economy is slow doesn’t mean people want cheap goods—what they want is value!
FINDING BUYERS Locating people to purchase sunwear isn’t hard, in fact, you already have a built-in supply. Just take a look at your current patients and their fashion profiles. They all need sunwear. And don’t forget about your contact lens wearers and LASIK patients who will be drawn to a carefully chosen selection of the edgier fashion-forward sunwear they weren’t able to wear when prescription lenses were part of the package.
Think of Carolina Herrera Style No. 715 by Base Curve Eyewear for women who desire a sophisticated update to the classic Jackie O wrap with the unexpected appeal of faux croc.
Marketing well-made quality sunwear from a fashion perspective offers patients an opportunity to spend the dollars with you that they would otherwise most certainly take to the upscale sunglasses department
Carolina Herrera Style No. 715 by Base Curve is for women who want a sophisticated update to the classic Jackie O wrap.
of their favorite retailer. Your Web site, e-mail newsletter, and direct mail—including billings and appointment reminders—afford an opportunity to publicize your fashion sunwear to existing patients.
PROMOTE YOUR EXPERTISE Fashion sunwear’s sizzle will attract patients initially, but your professional know-how in guiding the selection and fitting of their sunwear will set you apart from the mass retailers.
Let your patients know that you are the expert they can trust to provide them with the latest updates on sunwear trends and appropriate choices that will suit their style and enhance their comfort. A good example is Viva International Group’s European-inspired men’s collection by Ermenegildo Zegna. The collection highlights tailored details, warm hues, and a timeless air, as seen in Style No. SZ3079.
Don’t neglect any of your demographics when marketing fashion. There are real style icons available at all price points. Spy Optic’s Yoko, a mono-lens shield offering a kick of 1980s’ karma, will appeal to some of your urban chic patients.
BRAND IDENTIFICATION Another factor that plays a key role in guiding fashion purchases by consumers is brand identification. Designers and their licensed manufacturers recognize how important this is to consumer acceptance and
TREASURE TROVE Luxottica Group is leading the fashion sunwear market and showing what is possible in the luxury segment with its latest retail concept. ILORI, which means “special treasure,” is the first specialty store dedicated to the world of elegant sunglasses. With locations ranging from Hawaii to Beverly Hills to New York City’s Soho to Puerto Rico, the boutiques are a unique environment where clients are invited to interact with the product in a luxurious, unhurried manner. Lounge furniture invites clients to sit and try sunglasses at their own pace. Expert style consultants provide as much assistance…or as little, as the client requests.
loyalty. Consequently, they spend a great deal of research and marketing effort to present the message and image their brand should convey. This allows the purchaser to make a style statement without saying a word.
FITTING THE IMAGE Finding the brands that best represent your patients’ fashion image is the first step in stimulating sunwear purchases under any market conditions, but especially in a slow market. Take a key from the wardrobe and accessories they are currently wearing. Does their sunwear follow through with the image they wish to present?
A stylish real estate professional wearing dated worse-for-the-wear sports sunwear with her business attire will impress no one. Luxotti-ca’s Anne Klein collection is synonymous with timeless American style. The brand is best known for classic sportswear and a casual elegance that is self-assured and modern. From Style No. AK 3144, a classic cat eye, to the soft wrap of Style No. AK4119, there is a model that is perfect for every sophisticated woman who walks in your door.
SHOW THE LATEST You owe it to your patients to let them know about the latest trends in fashion sunwear. Many of the current options may not have existed the last time the patient sitting before you made a purchase. Remember, larger sunwear is a fairly recent phenomenon and will afford greater comfort as well as more style for most sunwear purchasers so stock it and show it to everyone.
THE SUNWEAR EXPERIENCE Because the market is currently slow, spark things up by helping your patients feel special and inspired by their surroundings. Your patients have a larger-than-ever pool of fashion-driven retailers eager for their sunwear dollars. Be sure you measure up in the merchandising department.
Create an enjoyable experience for the sunwear purchaser through exciting displays, flattering lighting, and graphics that lead them through the selection process to the purchase. Present a continually updated product mix to encourage repeat visits. Assure that your staff is the absolute authority on sunwear and fashion.
Fashion is a powerful tool. As spring approaches in this slow economy, take advantage of all the things fashion can do for your sunwear sales. You’ll be delighted by the results!
Roxanne Armstrong is a licensed optician and owner of EyeTech Optical Boutique, in Wilmington, NC.
WHERE TO FIND IT Base Curve Eyewear 877-777-1677 • basecurveeyewear.com
Spy Optic 800-779-3937 • spyoptic.com
Luxottica Group 800-422-2020 • luxottica.com
Viva International Group 800-345-VIVA • vivagroup.com