Business and eCommerce is a cutthroat industry. While there have been a lot of online glasses companies and retailers that have sprung up the past few years, several have not made it. Even if the frames and lenses were good products, the site was nicely designed, and they had customers. However, sometimes things just don’t work for whatever reason. These are some of the online glasses sites that went under and out-of-business.
Rivet & Sway
Rivet and Sway was an ecommerce eyeglasses company focused on specifically on women. Rivet and Sway had a loyal following of customers and priced glasses at $199 then dropped the price down to $169 per pair. The 14-person company raised a decent amount of venture capitol money, roughly $3 million dollars. So why did they fail?
A lot of women like trying on glasses before buying. According to Sarah Bryar, the founder of Rivet and Sway, the economics couldn’t work. The home try-on process proved an expensive endeavor to send frames back and forth. Of course Warby Parker, Glasses.com, and several other retailer do this. They priced a second pair of glasses at $99 a pair to encourage additional product to move. With competitors like Warby Parker, EyeBuyDirect, ZenniOptical, etc. that was difficult to manage it seems. EyeBuyDirect and ZenniOptical can offer glasses in the $30 dollar range shipped. Still the company had a 75 percent customer referral rate. They close down in June, 2014.
Rivet and Sway was folded into Glasses.com for a period of time which is owned by the Italian eyewear conglomerate Luxottica. Luxottica owns several major eyewear chains including LensCrafters, PearleVision, and several vision insurance companies. Luxottica is considered the glasses monopoly and juggernaut in the industry. They own the Rivet and Sway domain name it seems but haven’t done much with the brand for awhile and have just let it sit.
DBVision was an online glasses retailer with a twist, they had self-service kiosks at shopping malls and centers. Of course there were a limited number of of self-service kiosks around but is was still an enticing business model for those wearer of buying glasses online.
The company also offered home try-on options for people that preferred that. They offered a decent selection of glasses frames but didn’t have many color options. Mostly just black from what I can tell on AnalogDigital.
What happened to DBVision? If you visit the website you will see DBVision was bought out by RiteAid VisionCare Center. If you click “Shop Now” you are taken through to a page that allows you to just buy artificial tears and contact lens solution. No more eyeglasses through DBVision I guess.
It’s not entirely clear what happened to Mezzmer. The company started operations in 2011 and it seems like in 2014 or so is when they stopped selling glasses online. The company had a lot of major press but I don’t see any information on why they went out of business. The domain seems to be owned by some sort of domaining company that is managed by Network Solutions.
[Sources – GeekWire]