Eyecare Business April

APR 2017

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40 E y e c a r e B u s i n e s s . c o m April 2017 T H E W I L D , W I L D W E B liff Balter was born into optical. His family owns a small, local chain of eyewear stores in Philadelphia, and he was already working in them by age 13. At age 26, he opened his own downtown Philadelphia shop, InnerVision Eyewear. That was in 2002, and he has been balancing doing his own thing with fight- ing the big boys ever since. No competitor has charged his independent spirit—and offbeat sense of humor—more than Warby Parker. And, like any good front-line fighter, Balter has used some of the enemy's own tactics against it. Here's what he says about his battleground strat- egies for winning in a brick-and-mortar business. THE POSITIONING When it comes to competing against online retailers and the likes of Warby, Balter's first line of defense was a combina- tion of smart pricing and exclusivity. "Our shop is a little unusual because we sell only exclusive frame brands, but not all of them are expensive," he says. "We started a brand called Philly EyeWorks a few years ago to help defend ourselves from online retailers like Warby Parker. It's a very reasonably priced line and is available in two interchangeable finishes, 18 front colors, and 12 temple tones. It's inexpensive, though it feels and looks like a bou- tique brand." c Competing With Online Sales, Part 2 See how one fiercely independent ECP took a stand against Warby Parker—and stood up for shopping small + local Cliff Balter, owner, InnerVision Eyewear

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