Krys launched on Jan. 24 its e-commerce platform. It will rely on the 850-odd stores affiliated with the French buying and franchising group for the delivery and fitting of prescription spectacles and the first-time purchase of contact lenses. It will only offer home delivery for ordinary sunglasses and repeat purchases of contact lenses.

The online shop offers 250-300 models of frames, which can be tried on virtually by the customer via Fitting Box, an increasingly popular program developed in France. The lenses are those supplied under Krys' house brand, Kalysté. Frames and lenses are sold the same price as in its stores, while contact lenses are sold at a discount.

After placing his or her order, the visitor is automatically directed to the nearest Krys optician to get the glasses adjusted. The site cashes in on the sale but the shop gets a service fee.

Along with the launch of the e-commerce service, Krys is offering a new service contract to its internet customers. Called «Le Kontrat,» it allows them to return the glasses and exchange them with a product of the same price or higher. It gives them the right to buy another frame from Krys' private label range one year later. The glasses are guaranteed for six months, or one year if the user is less than 18 years old. In that case, he or she can also get a pair of sunglasses with a discount of 20 percent.

The launch of Krys' new web shop has been accompanied by a major national advertising campaign on TV, featuring many couples who kiss each other.

Krys had already announced its new e-commerce initiative last September. Its website has been offering since 2009 the possibility for customers to try frames virtually through Fitting Box, to obtain a quote for the glasses and to locate the nearest store. The site has been getting 142,000 visits a month lately.

After an observation period of 9-12 months, Krys' parent company, Krys Group (formerly called Guilde des Lunetiers) is expected to roll out a similar e-commerce service to its other retail banners - Lynx Optique, Lun's and Vision Plus.

Company officials feel that the potential for sales of eyewear over the internet is big, considering that it now represents only about 1.5 percent of the French market in this sector. They believe in the active involvement of the optician for prescription eyewear, which is covered in France by medical insurance. Partly for this reason, it seems preferable for the group to focus on the services offered to clients rather than on aggressive pricing.