In fact, with 165.5 million US adults currently wearing glasses, research from The Vision Council has revealed the average consumer spends $126.47 on replacing their frames.
Luckily, you may be able to cut costs significantly by buying your glasses online instead of visiting a brick-and-mortar optician. The reason for this difference in price is simple: when you purchase your specs from a physical store, part of the price you pay goes toward covering overheads such as rent and utility bills. Online retailers, however, have far fewer of these expenses to cover and are able to pass these savings on to their customers.
If you’re looking to keep your vision crystal-clear while making your wallet a little lighter, we’ve rounded up some of the most effective ways to save money when buying your next pair of glasses online.
Find your favorite designer brands on sale
Despite the preconception that you’ll need to visit an in-store optician to purchase glasses from a high-end manufacturer, many online retailers offer designer frames for a fraction of the cost.
In many cases, online glasses companies will buy designer frames in bulk from manufacturers, which provides them with access to cheaper deals and discounts.
Even if you’re set on purchasing designer frames, it’s always worth investigating less expensive non-designer alternatives. With most glasses retailers offering virtual try-on tools, you could compare images of yourself in both designer and non-designer frames and see whether you can actually tell the difference.
Benefit from 2-for-1 deals
One of the most common incentives you’re likely to encounter when shopping for glasses is the 2-for-1 deal. For many of us, the option of having two frames can be extremely appealing as we may, for example, need one pair to wear at work and another for when we’re out for dinner with friends.
When you’re taking advantage of a 2-for-1 deal, it’s essential to check the fine print carefully as many deals will only cover certain frames and you may need to spend a certain amount in order to qualify.
Refer a friend
Offering money to customers who refer a friend to the company’s service is another popular discount model employed by online opticians and often involves the company sending you a unique code.
If one of your friends or family members enters this code when buying their glasses, both of you could receive a discount on your next purchase. Beware, however, that these offers often include a minimum spending limit.
Take advantage of free returns and shipping
One of the biggest concerns you’re likely to have when buying your glasses online is that you won’t have the opportunity to try on your new frames before making your purchase. Will they suit your face shape? How will they feel against your skin? This is the reason so many of us take a trusted friend when we visit the optician to pick our frames.
In addition to free try-on services, many online glasses sites offer free refunds and returns, which can give you ample time to change your mind if you’re not happy with your chosen frames when they arrive in the mail.
Although the exact details of any return policies will vary depending on the retailer you choose, many offer a 30-day full refund, and some could be as long as 100 days. When you’re buying your glasses online, it’s also a good idea to choose a company that offers free shipping in order to keep costs down.
Don’t buy new frames unnecessarily
If you need to replace the lenses in your glasses, you may assume you’ll also need to replace your frames at the same time. However, you could save money by only having your lenses replaced if you’re happy with your current frames. To do so, you’ll normally need to provide your optician with a copy of your current prescription. If you’ve misplaced your prescription, however, you may be able to send in your current lenses to the online retailer. The optician can then read your lenses and duplicate your prescription.
Sign up for email newsletters
By registering for a company’s email newsletter, you’ll receive updates on the site’s latest discounts and promotions. Some companies even offer a discount when you sign up. Even if you’d prefer not to receive these emails all year round, you could sign up in the months before you need to replace your glasses so you can keep an eye out for up-to-date deals.
Remember, it’s also sensible to follow the business’s social media platforms so you can stay informed about any upcoming promotions the company is offering.
Remember to shop around
Whatever you’re purchasing online (whether new glasses or a DVD boxset), the ability to shop around quickly and easily is one of the most effective ways of saving money on your purchase.
While you could spend an entire day visiting brick-and-mortar shops and trying on glasses in person, you may be able to find a cheaper alternative online by spending a few minutes browsing various sites. And remember: the majority of online glasses retailers offer virtual tools that enable you to try on frames you like by using your webcam to project an image of your face on the screen.
Say you’ve found a pair of frames that you believe suit your face, it can be easy to get swept away in the excitement of making a new purchase. When you’re shopping online, however, you can add these to your basket or create a watchlist and return the following day before committing yourself.
For those of us with vision problems, it can feel frustrating to have to make extra room in our budgets for eyewear needs. Fortunately, you can drastically reduce costs by making your purchases online, which can not only save you time and money, but enable you to shop from a wider variety of glasses and find the perfect pair of frames.