Vision Direct Takes the Leap into Bricks and Mortar

April Davis By April Davis | 12 Apr 2018

To celebrate its 10th anniversary, Vision Direct is opening its first bricks and mortar store in Melbourne. This bold move will see the previously online-only retailer join the ranks of other recently anointed multichannel brands.

Vision Direct has announced the opening of a flagship Melbourne store, as the e-commerce company that specialises in designer glasses takes the first steps to merge its online offerings with an in-store product range.

The brand is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, and to mark the milestone it will be opening the doors of its new store on Bourke Street in Melbourne’s CBD on Tuesday, 1 May.

The brand’s co-founders, David Menning and Doron Kalinko believe this move is a “natural expansion” for the business.

“The Vision Direct Optical Centre is the first of its kind for physical brand experience, which builds on Vision Direct’s heritage of 10 years of retail and consumer experience innovation in designer eyewear,” says Menning.

According to the duo, the store will offer a combination of visual and interactive displays, to ensure the brand’s first bricks and mortar store presents a holistic shopping experience for consumers.

Another key area of focus for Menning and Kalinko is their goal to provide professional optometry services, while also stocking the latest products that align functionality with style.

In an effort to work towards these goals, Vision Direct has partnered with Chester Eyewear, an Australian-owned and -operated business that supplies frames for glasses. The brand claims these frames are made with the highest level of attention to detail, with both luxury and quality in mind, which makes them a good fit with Vision Direct’s company ethos.

“Chester Eyewear share key values with Vision Direct when it comes to community support and expanding into online and offline channels, this was a perfect match,” Menning explains. “We’re excited to partner with a local business who share the same vision in terms of business growth and transition.”

Despite the popularity of pureplay e-commerce retailers in Australia, and across the globe, Vision Direct isn’t the only retailer to see value in having a strong physical footprint. Other online retailers have already made the move to bricks and mortar, with Yellow Octopus – a gifts and gadgets retailer – taking the leap in May 2017 and EMU Australia in early 2016.

It seems an increasing number of ‘online-only’ retailers are taking a chance on multichannel business models, as the industry starts to see a shift in consumers’ shopping habits.

The fact remains that despite the convenience of online shopping, traditional in-store shopping is still providing consumers with a multisensory experience that helps brand’s build strong customer relationships.

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