January 26, 2004, 12:00 AM

December sales rise 35% and orders 85% at EyeSave.com

New products, a drop-ship program, an Amazon partnership, and free or reduced shipping spike sales at EyeSave.com.

Adding a new category of reading glasses boosted EyeSave.com’s sales volume by 35% and the number of orders by 85% in December, according to the Brooklyn, NY-based online retailers of discount designer sunglasses. Also helping to boost December sales were returning customers, an e-mail campaign offering free ground and reduced air shipping, and a partnership with Amazon launched last summer, according to CEO Darren Lilien.

Lilien notes that the company’s average selling margin was in the range of 40% last year compared with an average margin of 20% in 2002 before it added the new category. “Reading glasses have a much higher margin than sunglasses. We have many of the reading glasses manufactured especially for EyeSave, which cuts out the middleman. We pass those savings onto our customers,” Lilien says.

Lilien adds the company is looking for still greater increases in order volume in the year ahead from two new initiatives. EyeSave recently launched a drop-ship partnership program in which partners take orders on their own web sites, process payment and then send the orders via an XML feed to EyeSave’s server and fulfillment center. “The drop-ship partnership has enabled us to gain market share, increase our buying power and move more inventory without increasing our fixed costs,” says Lilien. In addition, EyeSave recently increased its potential customer base by 20,000 with the acquisition of a competitor, LensAmerica.com.

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