Customized Sunglasses: 40 Million Options May Be a Bit Much


We modern consumers sure love our customizations. Ask any marketing genius and he or she is likely to tell you that customization options are one of the best ways to separate a company from the competition. But can you have too much of a good thing? Would it be a bit much to give you forty million choices to work with? Oakley doesn’t seem to think so.

Oakley is one of the dozens of eyewear brands owned by Luxottica. They recently launched a new marketing program based on allowing customers to customize nearly every aspect of their new shades. When you consider fourteen different models and the number of individual components available to customize, you end up with forty million possibilities.

To someone more than happy with a reasonably priced pair of sunglasses from an Olympic Eyewear brand, forty million options just seem like a bit much. From a purely mathematical standpoint, it is hard to imagine how you could even go through every single option before making your choice.

A True Fashionista Nightmare

Imagine you are a fashionista intent on purchasing a brand-new pair of customizable Oakleys. You go into it expecting the shopping experience to be a lot like a visit to the optometrist’s office. You are expecting to have to decide if this one looks better than that one. Yet once the process begins, it becomes apparent you are on your way to being overwhelmed. It’s a true fashionista nightmare.

It was okay when your only customization options were frame and lens color. But now you have to make decisions about the jaw, ear socks and bridge. Heck, you even have to decide what color you prefer for the Oakley icon.

So many choices is enough to make any consumer’s eyes glaze over. The mind-numbing customization experience could take the better part of five days to get through – if you had that much time and stamina. Most of us do not. So in the end, consumers are likely to stick with a small number of frame choices and the two or three colors they most prefer.

A Bold Marketing Endeavor

The people behind Oakley’s brand-new marketing venture are smart. They know that no consumer is going to cycle through all forty million options before deciding on a pair of sunglasses. They also know it is highly unlikely the company will ever produce one each of the forty million possible combinations. So what’s the deal?

Simply advertising the fact that so many options are available presents consumers with endless opportunities to imagine. It convinces them that they can custom design the perfect pair of sunglasses they have always wanted. It is all about possibilities. And the more possibilities you offer, the more attractive your product is to consumers.

Oakley’s move is nothing short of a bold marketing endeavor designed to capture the imagination. How long it lasts will depend on the public’s appetite for customization. The effort will last as long as sales data supports it. But the minute customers start showing a loss of interest, the program will be set aside. Marketers will move on to the next big thing.

Are you in the market for new pair of sunglasses? If you have a lot of time on your hands due to coronavirus shutdowns, perhaps it might be fun to look at as many of Oakley’s forty million combinations as possible. But if so many choices seem a bit much, you might be better off with a brand from Olympic Eyewear. It will not take you nearly as much time to order what you want.

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