Evioo.com is a new click-and-mortar operation whereby the customers are invited to select the lenses and frames of their choice and to pick them up at the store of an optician in their neighborhood who will take care of the final fitting.
Presented as the most extensive showroom of the kind in Europe, Evioo's website offers a choice among some 10,000 different prescription frames, which the client can try on virtually with the help of a webcam. The client orders the frames and designates a lens model and an optician online.
Evioo then ships the frame to the optician, which gets a commission of between 20 and 30 percent on the sale, depending on the type of partnership that it has with the e-tailer, based on the level of exclusivity in terms of geography or e-commerce.
The website offers no private label products, but the pricing is competitive because of relatively low operating costs. Evioo.com will also buy some inventories and sell them online.
Aside from prescription frames, where the sale is shared with the brick-and-mortar shops, Evioo.com also offers sunglasses directly to consumers.
Inspired from the tyre business, the new operation was launched a few weeks ago by Philippe Wargnier, with the backing of institutional funds, but it has been under preparation since April 2010. This French entrepreneur co-founded one of the two major French online shoe retailers, Spartoo.com, and then four years later, in July 2009, he resold his shares. He worked previously as general manager of Go Sport, one of the major French sporting goods retailers.
Evioo has already sealed partnerships with about 50 optical retail stores, mainly in the region of Grenoble where Wargnier is based. More are joining every week. The new French e-tailer is targeting a network of 800 opticians across the country and annual sales of €200 million, giving it a national market share of 4 percent.