We are not afraid to market cheap sunglasses to our customers. Why? Because our customers are retailers looking to us to supply them with inexpensive sunglasses at wholesale prices. We sell cheap sunglasses in bulk. It is that simple. But we use the term ‘cheap’ to denote price. Consumers do not necessarily think the same way.
Unfortunately, ‘cheap’ means multiple things to consumers. Some think of it only in terms of price; others think of it in terms of quality. Still other consumers look at cheap from both perspectives. The goal in our industry is to denote affordable prices without suggesting that quality has been compromised.
It is a tough sell. Consumers know poor quality when they see it. Furthermore, poor quality is often associated with price. If you only want to spend a little, do not expect to get a lot. What many retail customers do not understand about sunglasses is that quality varies little among the most reputable brands. They do not understand that cheap sunglasses are usually so designated because of their price.
Static Manufacturing Processes
There are some eyewear makers that handcraft every single pair of frames. They insist on only the finest handcrafted lenses and hardware as well. But these manufacturers are the exception to the rule. Most use fairly static manufacturing processes common to the entire industry.
For example, consider the standard plastic frame. There may be some slight variation in the formulas that make up individual plastics, but manufacturing frames is pretty standard. Most companies rely on either injection molding, stamping, or thermal molding. All three processes are ideal for mass production at an extremely low cost.
Now, consider three different manufacturers whose frames are all made of the same plastic and with an identical injection molding process. The quality of their frames isn’t going to vary all that much. Any differences in quality will likely be found in how the frames were assembled rather than manufactured.
When it comes time to sell those three brands, the one with the lowest price will be the cheapest. But only in terms of price. In terms of quality, all three models will be quite similar.
How to Market Cheap
For those of us in the business, having this knowledge makes it clear that talking about cheap sunglasses is a matter of marketing. So, how do we market cheap? Is there a way to use the term effectively without leading people to believe they are purchasing something of inferior quality?
One way to go about it is to find a way to link the idea of cheap with actual price. You might come up with a marketing campaign that essentially says, “our sunglasses are cheap, but only in price.” Another angle would be to market by doing a price comparison. You compare one of your best-selling brands with a more expensive competing brand.
If you are wondering why all of this matters, it goes back to the all-encompassing entity we know as Google. If you are not competing online these days, you’re not competing effectively. We have to think about how we market in terms of how people find our products on Google.
If you are searching for an inexpensive pair of sunglasses online, will you actually search the word ‘inexpensive’? Probably not. It is too long. You’re more likely to type ‘cheap’ sunglasses. The term is out there and being used by consumers. We have to find a way to use it to our advantage.
Olympic Eyewear bands are cheap, but only in price. Now we have to work with our retail partners to make sure consumers know that.