At a time when many Canadian retailers are turning to the web, corrective eyewear e-tailer Coastal Contacts is the contrarian.
Earlier this year, the company opened two physical stores in Vancouver and a third store opened in Toronto's Queen Street West neighbourhood on Black Friday. Founder and Chief Executive Roger Hardy is betting the touch-and-feel approach is a perfect complement to its online business, which operates as clearlycontacts.ca in Canada.
Initially, the idea was supposed to be an experiment that took surveys, polls and focus groups on contact lenses and glasses to the next level, enhancing an already flourishing e-commerce business that began in 2000, which now has operations in North America, Europe and Australia.
Hardy sees the move to brick-and-mortar locations as a way of fortifying their customer service in an increasingly cutthroat industry fixated on omni-channel retailing or seamless shopping experience in-store, online or via mobile device.