Sunglasses represent a sort of retail enigma. Manufacturers and retailers alike know they have to market their sunglasses in order to sell them. But what more can be said about a product that has been around for a couple of generations? We have said just about everything we can say about sunglasses.
Marketing geniuses can develop ad campaigns around the idea of wearing sunglasses to protect the eyes. Of course, there is the fashion angle as well. Wholesale distributors, like Salt Lake City’s Olympic Eyewear, encourage retailers to come up with seasonal promos three or four times a year. They are looking for retailers to sell women’s and men’s wholesale sunglasses alongside other seasonal fashions.
When you get right down to it, most of us understand the basics. We know all about ultraviolet rays, cancer, and macular degeneration. We know about things like polarized lenses and what certain shapes look like in relation to our faces. What’s left?
1.Everybody Needs a Gimmick
Most of the big-name brands are marketed by manufacturers despite those manufacturers selling their sunglasses through retailers. Manufacturers handle marketing because they have the finances to do it. But even small, boutique manufacturers tend to handle their own marketing. The one thing they all have in common is the need for a gimmick.
Let’s face it, a typical pair of aviators looks alarmingly similar to every other pair out there. There are only so many ways you can alter aviators and still call them by that name. The same is true for wayfarers, cat eyes, and on and on. Manufacturers have to find a way to differentiate a pair of sunglasses that looks like every other pair of the same style. That is where gimmicks come in.
Making frames from wood is a gimmick. There is nothing inherent to wood that makes it superior to acetate as a material for eyewear frames. Therefore, wood frames appeal to a certain demographic that has an affinity for that particular material. Wood becomes a gimmick to sell sunglasses to that group.
Another gimmick is making sunglasses from recycled plastic. Believe it or not, the majority of the world’s consumer plastics never get recycled. They end up in landfills and incinerators. Why? Because manufacturers know that virgin plastic is cheaper.
If you are going to make a pair of sunglasses out of recycled plastic, you are not going to save any money doing so. You either have to charge a higher retail price or reduce your profits. Thus, recycled plastic frames are a gimmick designed to sell sunglasses to a particular audience.
2.Brand Loyalty Matters
For the record, there is nothing wrong with relying on a gimmick to sell retail products. In fact, such is the history of retail. Gimmicks aside, brand loyalty also helps a lot. There isn’t much left for manufacturers to say about quality, UV protection, etc., but branding remains a bottomless well of marketing opportunities.
Perhaps you’ve noticed that brands rarely emphasize quality. They rarely differentiate themselves by comparing retail price, value for money, or other tangible touch points. Rather, modern branding emphasizes intangible lifestyle points. Associate your brand with happy young people frolicking on the beach and you have something. Better yet, link your brand to celebrity. You’ll sell a lot of sunglasses that way.
We have said about all there is to say about wearing sunglasses. Everybody understands the health risks of not wearing shades. That leaves manufacturers to tap into fashion, brand loyalty, and gimmicks. Remember that next time you have to buy a new pair of shades.