Anneke Verkaik, Eyewear Stylist & Optometrist from Dubai sheds light on the importance of style consultation for the optometrist while selling eyewear to a prospective customer while interacting with VisionPlus
Customisation is fast emerging as a game changer in the optical trade. Leading eyewear brands are acknowledging the growing impact of technical advancements that have led to the customer being informed to demand better and the optician being empowered to dispense better.
In this edition, VisionPlus talks to Anneke Verkaik, Eyewear Stylist & Optometrist in Dubai. Anneke is currently associated to Top Vision Dubai which is the leading distributor of JF Rey products in the region.
Anneke currently heads Anna by Top Vision Optics, a destination store for eyewear since 1991. Her store has an extensive selection of frames, lenses, and sunglasses. Known for their inspired styling and individualised services, Top Vision boasts of a loyal and extensive clientele.
During the course of the conversation, Anneke highlights the growing importance of eyewear consultation and how it is changing the face of the optical trade, not just in the Middle East but all over the world.
VisionPlus (VP): Customer involvement is crucial to the development and progress of any trade. Given this, what is the level of involvement that the consumer shows while purchasing eyewear?
Anneke Verkaik (AV): Well, today, the situation is much better than what it was in the past. Most of the times, we have customers coming to us, who are already informed and well-aware of the trending styles. They come to us with specific demands and it is our job to guide them further and help them choose better.
However, some time ago, this level of involvement was lacking on behalf of the consumer due to the lack of awareness. In fact, to put it more accurately, previously, eyewear particularly eyeglasses were perceived only as a tool that helped the individual see clearly. But, this perception has clearly undergone a massive change. Today, the customer is more fashion conscious and is finally looking upto eyewear as an accessory that helps to enhance his or her style statement.
(VP):How does consumer involvement generated through style consultation impact the trade?
(AV): According to me, I believe that style consultation while selling eyewear and the resulting customer involvement are very important for the trade. First of all, I see it as a dialogue. While, we as optometrists and style experts prescribe the best suited styles to our customers, depending on their features and preferences, their involvement or response to our suggestions helps us understand their preferences better.
This in turn guides us towards selecting the right stock for our customers. Of course, it all boils down to better customer service and more options to earn better profits. All in all, an improved level of consumer involvement through style consultation given by the optometrist surely benefits the trade.
(VP): What are the key factors that an average consumer needs to consider while choosing an eyewear? Please elaborate giving examples from the JF Rey Eyewear.
(AV): There are various factors that need to be considered while advising eyewear to a prospective customer. I believe, every detail matters but there are a few key factors that play a rather crucial role in helping the optometrist understand the right eyewear for the customer.
These factors include the type of prescription, size or shape of the face, the personality of the individual, his or her working conditions and above all the expectation of the customer. For instance, a person who is more involved with field work may not be so open to the idea of investing in delicate frames even though they may seem stylish. Similarly, someone who has sported the glamorous look all throughout may not be responsive to the nerdy chic style even though it’s trending.
(VP): Moving on to JF Rey Eyewear, what is your take on the new collection?
(AV): The new collection is indeed very impressive. It has received an excellent response from customers here in Middle East. From what I learn from the JF Rey team in France, the collection has been well-received in various international markets. Indeed the eyewear is once again setting the trend for innovative eyewear, something that we, at Top Vision have always stood for.
From the eyewear styling point of view, I would say, this eyewear is an ideal choice for the cosmopolitan customer. Those who love the idea of flaunting a fashion conscious style statement will embrace the styles presented in the new collection. Though ultimately, the preference will differ from customer to customer.
(VP): When it comes to the Middle Eastern Consumer, what are the differentiating factors of the eyewear being offered by JF Rey?
(AV): First things first, I would like to point out that the JF Rey eyewear customer is a very confident person and wants to emphasise his unique individuality. This is something that the Middle Eastern consumer will easily identify with. There are many different styles within the collection from metal to acetate with always surprising details for kids and adults. On top of that it matches our high quality standards as it is produced in France. In fact, the sheer variety that they have is often a big attraction point for the customers in this region.
(VP): What are the trending styles in the Middle East?
(AV): Eyewear styles are extremely dynamic. I mean, they change with time. What was popular a month ago, may not be so popular amongst customers, we often realise this while dispensing the eyewear. Currently, the customers in Middle East seem to be more in favour of thick and/or darker acetate frames.
However, once again, I would like to point out that the individual style preferences are vastly different. This is where my experience as an eyewear stylist helps me understand the needs of my customers and accordingly help them choose the right option.
(AV): JF Rey has recently introduced their new collection which is heavily inspired by the retro look. This is the one that we are focusing on right now. However, I am sure, there is a lot more in the pipeline that will be revealed in the coming months.
(VP): Any message for our readers…
(AV): I would like to say that for the optician it is always nice to interact with a customer who is aware of the latest trends. But, at the same time, it is important for the optician to be aware of the trends and latest styles that can help present a more effective sales pitch to every prospective customer.