With the recent hype around wearable technology whipping people into a frenzy of thrill-seeking novelty around wristbands, headbands and Star Trek-like tricorders, it’s easy to forget that eyeglasses are still the most pertinent and life-improving wearable technology we’ve developed as humans.
And nicer still to see the marriage of old and new with Coastal Contacts (TSX:COA), the Vancouver-based manufacturer and online eyeglass retailer, announcing that it will launch a line of frames later in 2014 that will be compatible with currently hot, but decidedly non-prescription, gadgets like Google Glass and Samsung Gear Glass.
“Coastal.com has extensive experience developing new frames, with more than half of our sales coming from our own brands,” said Braden Hoeppner, Coastal.com’s Chief Marketing Officer. “We are developing frames with input from our consumers that will provide a wide array of style choices as the market adopts wearable technology.”
It’s been a strange non-conversation, watching the new wearable tech roll out with no mention of what wearing a face computer might mean for people who are already using non-digital technology just to see straight. This new announcement bridges that gap between that old and new technology.
The new initiative focusing on wearable tech follows a series of announcements through the past few months, marking Coastal.com out as an innovator in the online retail space. Last week, they announced a new 30-day “try before you buy” program that would allow customers to customize frames and lenses until fully satisfied before committing.
It’s an idea for online retail already perfected by Montreal online clothing retailer Beyond the Rack. Earlier this year, Unilever partnered with both Beyond the Rack and Coastal.com in an innovative campaign to target pre-existing customers by including sample-size hair care products in shipped packages.
It used to be that if you ever met someone who wore eyeglasses with just plain lenses installed, under the impression that it makes them look more intelligent than they are, then you were in the company of a poseur. This effect has now been taken over by devices like Google Glass, with derogatory (but irresistible) nicknames like “Glassholes” gaining much wider traction than some people’s actual desire to wear the device.