Zenni Optical, an online based eyeglasses and sunglasses retailer, recently redesigned the company’s website. An email went out today notifying customers of the updated design.
Having a look myself at the website the Zenni redesign isn’t a radical change from the old user interface (UI). It keeps a lot of the same basic design setup. However, it is much improved UI with a lot less clutter. Sometimes I felt hampered by the whole selection and ordering process with Zenni Optical. It felt like they were trying to make it difficult to order and choose glasses. You can see the old Zenni design using the Internet Archive.
Zenni’s web designers are emphasizing more white space. It seems Zenni wants customers to focus more on the glasses product, customization, and checkout. The old design tended to confuse many customers. (I get many emails from people asking how to order on Zenni and other vision sites. Maybe they should hire me for customer support?) There were a lot of options and it wasn’t presented very well.
In my opinion the redesign is the exact right move for Zenni Optical. The company is facing increased competition from the Essilor and Luxottica merger. The new optical giant, EssilorLuxottica, will have major ramifications for all players in the online glasses and retail landscape. Essilor owns many online glasses sites which includes Coastal, Clearly.ca (Canadian Coastal), EyeBuyDirect, FramesDirect, and VisionDirect UK. To put it into perspective it is the equivalent to General Motors and Ford merging.
In addition one of Zenni’s main rivals is Warby Parker. Over the past two years Warby Parker has opened up many retail stores across the United States, and two stores in Canada. Warby Parker doesn’t aim to just be an online glasses option anymore. Warby Parker wants to compete with Luxottica, or EssilorLuxottica, now in retail.
Zenni ships globally giving it a strong foothold outside the US. Warby Parker does not have any market outside North America. Zenni is far ahead regarding foreign glasses markets and consumers.
Zenni has no retail stores and as far as I know they are not planning to open any. The redesign is a necessity for Zenni to stay current with modern consumer tastes and UI preferences. The business is completely online.
I’m sure most people that read OpticalOwl have bought glasses through Zenni, including yours truly. What do you think of Zenni Optical’s updated website and redesign? A good or bad move? What do you like or don’t like about the new design?