Why Are Prescription Glasses at Traditional Retailers So Expensive?

If you compare the price of the prescription glasses at a Traditional Store to that of an online store, you will see a very stark difference. The price at which a regular store sells a pair of glass is almost 3 to 4 times than that of the online ones. This difference may seem ridiculous to someone, but a close look at the evolution of retail stores and an idea of overheads can easily explain it. At the very beginning, prescription glasses were used to be sold by stores, which were owned most of the time by the optometrist themselves. The cost of maintaining the store and a small base of customers resulted in a high price of the glasses.

Once the insurance industry boomed, they used this already hiked price of the glasses to come up with high premiums, clubbed under medical insurance which the patient’s employer had to pay. Slowly the age of the departmental stores came. Like the rest of the businesses, they eroded away the small retail shops. They were able to tap into a giant collection of consumers. One might think that this should have reduced the prices of the prescription glasses. It did. But the reduction was a negligible amount. This was due to two reasons. Firstly, the departmental stores knew how much the customers have been paying for all this time and it looked more profitable. Secondly, the departmental stores themselves had lot of overhead expenses, like employee salaries, lighting, rent etc. which they had to recover through the prices charged on the products.

The internet boom changed everything.

Now, companies can open online stores at very low costs and they can completely do away with the overhead expenses. This has resulted in a lot of savings in expenses and these stores pass on these savings on to the prices of the prescription glasses. This effectively means that the prices are far less than what the customers have sort of got used to for all these years. This has resulted in a boom of online stores selling prescription glasses online and the rates have become really competitive with the customers having a wide range of options to choose from.