Eyeglass Startup Focuses on Lenses, Bridges Gap Between Manufacturers and Consumers
LensFactory, an online eyeglass lens replacement startup, focuses on giving eyeglass wearers unparalleled value though direct access to large national lens manufacturers.
LensFactory is a new way to get eyeglass lenses online which bypasses middlemen and retail markup. When new eyeglasses are purchased online or at a brick-and-mortar optical store, the frames are commonly sent out to a large national optical lab which deals exclusively with retailers. LensFactory allows consumers to send their glasses directly to manufacturers for new lenses by mail.
Retail optical stores like LensCrafters display and stock a wide selection of frames, so the incentive for them to replace lenses in existing frames is low. The overhead to operate a retail store to serve a few customers per day is high, so the markup has to be high on both the frames and the lenses. A recent LensFactory customer who previously paid more than $600 for photochromic progressive lenses at a retailer, was able to get photochromic progressive lenses with anti-reflective coating for $133 at LensFactory. Options which usually cost extra like anti-scratch coating and UV protection are included at no extra cost at LensFactory.
A recent Vision Council of America study identified that nearly 20% of eyeglass wearers who plan to purchase eyeglasses online only want new lenses. This can be difficult because most websites are geared toward selling complete eyewear. Traditional eyeglass retailers and most internet sites steer customers toward selecting new frames because of the high profit margins and don’t have a process optimized for selling replacement lenses for glasses. Additionally, customers who purchase complete eyewear online may not get the frame quality or fit they were expecting. There can also be problems with the lenses if the doctor did not provide the pupillary distance (PD) on the prescription, which is often not included. Since the opticians at LensFactory measure PD and other dimensions on the existing lenses, they are able to make sure that the new lenses are fitted perfectly. Those measurements are then stored for later reference if the customer wants to get lenses in a new frame.
The founders of LensFactory want to build a lean business from the ground up, optimized for replacing just the lenses. LensFactory is on a mission to streamline the eyeglass lens supply chain, so they can provide unparalleled quality and value on prescription lenses. Since they can measure the PD on the existing lenses, and customers don't have to pick a frame they have never tried on... LensFactory is able to eliminate the two main reasons why customers are unhappy with purchasing prescription glasses online.