Also, apart from Matthew Curry’s review of buying glasses online from 2010, it’s a topic we have seldom covered on the blog.
So has My Glasses Club managed to provide a smooth user experience?
Explaining the proposition
My Glasses Club is unique as unlike most online glasses retailers, it is a subscription product where customers pay from 99p per month for two pairs of glasses as well as cover.
As such, and also as the business is relatively new, it’s important to explain the proposition and how it works.
The homepage does this, with text explaining what this new way to buy glasses online is:
Also, this handy graphic explains the process and benefits of the plan.
Navigation and product selection
The seven product filters on offer are sufficient to narrow the product selection to a manageable number.
As a small improvement, I would suggest showing the numbers of products available for each feature to avoid customers seeing no results at all.
Also, if a new customer comes straight from the homepage they may be unaware of what the fruit symbols mean under plans.
This is clearly explained under the plans link, but perhaps a popup showing details when people mouse over the fruit would help. It could be that many shoppers want to choose the plan that fits their budget first before searching for frames.
These small issues aside, the search and filtering is smooth. Filters can be added and removed easily, and the product selection updates quickly.
Images are all important, especially when users can’t immediately try glasses on.
The site offers a useful zoom tool and three different product views, while some pages have video as well.
Images are high quality and very useful, though perhaps some visitors would also like to see images of glasses on a model to gain a better idea of the fit.
As should always be the case, delivery and returns information is shown clearly which the no-quibble returns policy serves to reassure customers.
Overcoming customer objections and problems
Buying glasses can seem to be a bit trickier than other purchases, so sites need to consider and deal with possible customer problems.
Here are a few examples…
Here’s a great example. My Glasses Club shows common examples of prescriptions to show which measurements customers should look for and how they should input them.
It’s very useful and shows that the designers have thought about how people will use the site, and this should help to overcome what must be a common concern for buyers.
Concerns about fit
One advantage high street opticians have is that customers can try frames for size there and then, and potential online customers will often have concerns about how they will look once delivered.
There’s only so much websites can do about this. There are some sites, such as Warby Parker mentioned in this article, that offer ‘virtual mirrors’, though trying glasses on at home probably trumps such tools for most customers.
So MGC offers a free home trial of up to four pairs, which will enable people to make a more informed decision.
This graphic near the foot of the page provides reassurance, showing the benefits and telling customers they can try glasses on at home and cancel anytime if they want to.
You have your prescription from your optician, you’ve found a pair of glasses that are cheaper than high street prices, then you are flummoxed when the site asks you for your pupil distance.
It is, as must be obvious from the name, the distance in millimetres between your pupils and is crucial to ensure that your pupils are in the optical centre of each lens. Otherwise, you will get nasty headaches.
Opticians have no obligation to provide this measurement and, quelle surprise, very few will provide this when you request your prescription.
This can prove a stumbling block, so MGC has provided more information about this, suggesting that existing glasses can be used to obtain this number, or customers can measure it themselves.
This is useful information, and the site will be bringing in a measuring app to help overcome this issue.
Committing to a subscription
There are options to pay upfront, but mainly customers are encouraged to sign up for monthly payments.
For many customers, even the the cost can be the same, signing up for monthly payments seems a bigger commitment.
The trick is to make is seem less of a risk to customers, and reassurances that they can cancel any time.
Completing the purchase
Once you have selected the frames and plan, you’re led to this page, where you can add your prescription details.
It’s presented as a four stage process, which makes it clearer to users what they need to do.
One thing here. The fact that the total to pay is shown as the full membership charges for the year may surprise some customers who were expecting to pay monthly.
In fact, customers have the option of paying upfront or monthly, but this is only made clear after you click on the ‘pay now’ button.
I would worry that some may be deterred from pressing the button as the charges are higher than they expected.
Back to the ordering process. Prescription entry is simple enough, and the aforementioned prescription guide helps you to decipher the numbers if you need to.
Registration and payment
After selecting glasses, and before you reach the ‘four stage process’ screen shown above, registration is neatly dealt with in this light box:
Just four fields are needed to progress, so registration doesn’t seem such a barrier. Besides, people joining a club with monthly fees would naturally expect to have to register anyway.
The checkout is a one page process which, though it requires much the same information as longer checkouts, does make the payment process seem less on an effort.
Security logos offer reassurance for customers new to the site, while a persistent reminder of the order and total price is useful.
MyGlassesClub offers an excellent all round customer experience and, for a new business, does a good job of explaining the proposition for customers.
It deals with potential stumbling blocks (prescriptions, pupil distance etc) and key features like form design make the process easier.