Self-service sunshine
A global lens manufacturer is piloting 10 educational interactive kiosks at partner retail locations to educate eyewear shoppers about its adaptive lenses and illustrate how its photochromic technology works.
 
Transitions Optical, based in Pinellas Park, Fla., offers more than 100 lens options and believes consumer education is a key aspect to advancing its product portfolio and partner sales efforts. The free-standing touchscreen kiosk, created and developed by Frank Mayer & Associates, uses 72 UV-LED light bulbs to simulate outdoor UV rays to demonstrate how fast a Transition lens responds when exposed to daylight. A kiosk user places a demonstration card under the bulbs and within 12 seconds can see the lens react.
 
"The kiosk helps consumers to actually 'see' the transformation of the lenses turning a different color right before their eyes," said Sandy Berman, account executive at Frank Mayer & Associates. Consumers are given additional simulated lighting situations where they can see how Transitions lenses react.
 
"It's unique because it gives a convincing demonstration and backs up the demonstration with actual facts and benefits of the product," Berman said.
 
The Transitions' kiosk strategy is multi-fold. It aims to educate shoppers and provide a self-assessment aspect so consumers can determine which lens fits their lifestyle. On the marketing front the kiosks provide consumers with in-store promotion information. For the retailer and manufacturer, the goal is to drive sales of eye wear featuring the Transition lens technology.
According to Berman, it's the first kiosk her company has developed for the optical field.
 
"We work on a variety of creatively challenging projects so this is just another great example of how we are up for the challenge in designing and producing kiosks for different retail environments," she said.
 
The project went smoothly, Berman said, due to a collaborative relationship with the Transitions' team, which provided clear-cut objectives in achieving the kiosk design.
 
Frank Mayer & Associates was chosen by Transitions after a series of vendor evaluations that reviewed experience, quality and service, said Renee Himel, retail marketing specialist at Transitions Optical. St. Clair Interactive provided the software.
 
The hurdle for Transitions was making sure specific goals were met, she said.
 
"The  biggest challenge was balancing  consumer, partner and our own needs and wanting to deliver an educational and engaging interactive experience," said Himel. "The key for us was to include our retail partners early on as they provided input that drove the content, use and footprint of the units."
 
One unique aspect in deploying self-service technology in the optical field is understanding the relationship consumers have with eye care professionals, Himel explained.
 
"Consumers expect to have a conversation with their eye care professional and we took that insight into consideration when developing our kiosk," she said. "We made sure that the eye care professional could use the kiosk as an education and sales aid and walk their patients through the lens buying experience."

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