June 22, 2011, 12:25 PM

1-800 Contacts sees a way to expand into eyewear

1-800 Contacts Inc. sees growth online coming from a new niche: eyewear.

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1-800 Contacts, No. 101 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, has launched Glasses.com as a new e-commerce site that will sell prescription eyewear and frames from designers such as Oakley, 7 for All Mankind, Modo, Smith Optics, Jones New York and others.

1-800 Contacts, which generated Internet Retailer-estimated web sales of $179.8 million in 2010, also is adding social media and interactive customer service to Glasses.com. The web site debuted with live online chat and a virtual “try on” tool that lets visitors upload images to try on different frames and e-mail the images to friends and family or post on Facebook.

“With Glasses.com, customers can expect to save money, improve their overall buying experience, and receive their new glasses more quickly than they would have thought possible,” says Glasses.com general manager and senior vice president John Graham.

To generate consumer interest—and sales—Glasses.com is launching with a lowest price guarantee, free outgoing and return shipping on all orders, and delivery within two weeks of a purchase. “Glasses.com will make the process of buying glasses easy, convenient and fun,” says 1-800 Contacts founder and CEO Jonathan Coon.

1-800 Contacts, which began as a direct marketer of contact lenses 15 years ago, says it carries an inventory of more than 20 million contact lenses and ships more than 150,000 orders daily.

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