Optical Near ME and PlanetVA Extend Their Strategic Partnership
FramesLibrary, an innovative tool that was designed to help frame companies and optical retailers connect with millennial and Gen-Z buyers has just completed its beta. FramesLibrary is powered by the leading virtual try-on developer PlanetVA. As one of the first virtual try-on companies to enter the market in early 2000, PlanetVA partnered with Optical Near ME in 2015 to bring their solution to the North American market.
The two companies joined in a collaboration when, Optical Near ME founder, Charlene Nichols sought a virtual try-on provider who was 100% independent. Nichols identified the importance of technology in her pursuit to empower private practices and optical boutiques and understood the importance of protecting data ownership for those investing in tech. Ludwig Heymbeeck of PlanetVA and Charlene Nichols of Optical Near ME developed a plan to bring complete omnichannel virtual and e-commerce solutions to the eye care community in the North American market. Their project was slow to develop initially due to the adoption rate of online selling in 2015 and their decision to build their technology stack with an investor-free philosophy. There was also a lack of understanding in the marketplace on the importance of preparing for the younger emerging consumer markets.
“ I knew there had to be other solutions out there other than what I was finding on the market,” said Nichols. When I discovered PlanetVA, I just knew they were the right partner and that we would be able to finally fill the void of accessible virtual solutions for eye care providers.”
Before and throughout the pandemic, Optical Near ME stood alone as the sole solution that eye care providers could turn to for an “out of the box” e-commerce solution. During the pandemic, many more frame providers began to embrace the idea of going virtual with their frame libraries and the PlanetVA suite of products gained substantial traction. Although retailers and frame companies were adopting virtual try-on and online catalogs, there was still a need for solutions that provided accessibility without the complete e-commerce component. New use cases revealed a gap in the frame company to optician experience. Once Nichols and Heymbeeck identified this need, they quickly started working on a solution.
In November of 2021, PlanetVA, a founding exhibitor of My Vision Show, made an announcement on the virtual events platform that they would be launching FramesLibrary in early 2022.
FramesLibrary is now live and has over 300 frames ready to go on its web-based app. Access to the service is now available to all frame brands who want to take their library virtual without the heavy investment. This universal virtual frames catalog boasts unique features such as a self-service portal for frame brands to manage their library and even a way for retailers to register for their own link. Also on the early roadmap are features that protect IP and streamline data collection and transparency for users. In addition to the easiest setup process currently available in the market, all frame brands will be owners of their asset library.
The business development team of PlanetVA and Optical Near ME wanted to show their appreciation to the industry for their early support and have decided to donate 50 FramesLibrary licenses which will be offered in future events. The FramesLibrary app will be made available to retailers for the first time during My Vision Show 2022 and a sign-up for the software will be available in the PlanetVA booth for the entire 3-day event.
In a day and age where each consumer demands an individual experience, FramesLibrary provides great new possibilities for retailers on the fence about investing in virtual and digital solutions. The PlanetVA and Optical Near ME suite of solutions include a large range of virtual try-on and measuring tools, extensive e-commerce capabilities, and a network of frame and lens companies that are integrated into the platform. The addition of FramesLibrary allows all retailers to learn how to leverage these exciting new technologies and prepare for the future.
Optical Near ME consultants are available to answer any questions. They welcome feedback on use cases for FramesLibrary. Also, They are looking for additional gaps in the market so they can ensure their tools are solving retailers’ biggest challenges with communication and accessibility between their optical shop and their patients.