Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Eyecare Plus

One last site - I checked Eyecare Plus (at least, that appears to be the name - the URL, edinburgh-eyetests.co.uk, doesn't match). 1 Day Acuvue, 30 lenses, is listed as 14.20 GBP, but actually shows up as 14.50 when you add it to the basket (huh?). Actually, at the top of the page, it's listed as 13.70 GBP per box, but that must be an unspecified quantity discount (guys, put "as low as" or something like that - don't try to trick me!). Added to that is 3.50 GBP in shipping, for a total of 18.00 GBP. Not as expensive as the other shops we visited today, but far from cheap.

The site is fast, but the site design is (IMHO) poor, with the navigation bar disappearing (go to e.g. 1 Day Acuvue - your navigation bar on the left is now gone), prices changing (14.20 becoming 14.50), and incompatibility problems with FireFox (check out the main page in FF). NOTE: if the site designer is reading this, I highly recommend a book that I learned a lot from - Don't Make Me Think - also please note that I'm far from an expert myself! I have a lot to learn.

Page rank is only 2, so they have not yet impressed Google very much. NOTE: The Google page rank is a logarithmic scale with the important contact lens sellers in the UK having a rank of 4 (CostalContacts.co.uk, Contactlenses.co.uk, Lensbase.com) or 5 (VisionDirect.co.uk).

Again, I'll stay with VisionDirect.co.uk ;->


While checking through Froogle... wait, strike that... while checking through Google Product Search (Froogle sounds SO much better), I found PoshEyes.co.uk. Just a quick check showed a (for me) strange web site, with expensive prices - one box of 30 lenses of Acuvue 1 Day at 14.46 GBP plus 2 GBP shipping (note: they have free shipping on orders over 25 GBP) plus 2.88 GBP in VAT comes out to 19.34 GBP. They claim they have the "Lowest UK Prices on Contact Lens Solution" - well, that may be true (and it's worth checking another day), but they are certainly not cheap on lenses.

The site is Pearl based and very fast, and they have nice SEO-type URLs. Navigation is not bad, per say - more than anything, the thing that annoyed me where the "extra" pages filled with blah blah blah text when you clicked e.g. on the "Contact Lenses" link from the header - I'd rather see categories, etc.

Their focus is mostly on glasses, and it shows.

VisionDirect.com 15% Offer

Just received a 15% off offer from VisionDirect.com (coupon code FALL15 - valid through the end of Sept. 2007) - not bad, not bad at all. It seems to have no basket minimum attached to it, nor any of the tricks we found with the Coastal Contacts offer the other day.

One thing I found strange is that my account with them is set up with a Spanish address, but they sent the email assuming Dollars - even when they have buttons on the top for Euros and Pounds. A click on the button brought up a window that explained why I got the mailing in Dollars:

International Customers:

We recently made some changes to our website. All prices on the site are now reflected in United States dollars. We continue to ship to international addresses. Currency exchanges will be performed by your credit card company during the billing process. Please contact your credit card company for current exchange rates. Thank you for your business.

Yea, OK, so I have to do some calcs to compare prices, but let's see what I come up with...
One box of Acuvue 1 day (30 lenses) costs $21.95 (10.85 GBP), and the 15% discount (1.63 GBP) gets taken off that, for the awesome total of 9.22 GBP. Up till now, all roses.

However, there are three problems for U.K. customers. The first is the shipping, which comes out to a whopping $19.99 (9.88 GBP), bringing the total of our order up to 19.10 GBP (vs. 14.50 GBP, shipping included, at VisionDirect.co.uk). The other two problems are possible insurance complications, along with possible additional duties and taxes added to your total.

Although the prices vary slightly, the same principal applies to other European countries - buying from the U.S.A. just doesn't make sense.