Glasses Direct wins Most Outstanding Digital Experience Award was recognised as delivering the digital industry’s best experience last night at the prestigious Retail Week Customer Experience Awards.

The leading online glasses website won Outstanding Digital Experience for Ditto, its cutting-edge 3D virtual try on service.

The Award was judged on positive impact on customer experience, meeting business needs and delivering tangible improvements for the business. Glasses Direct beat off tough competition from short listed companies Sainburys, Thomas Cook, Schuh and to secure the Award.

Ditto enables customers to use their webcams on their computers to create a ‘virtual’ self and ‘try on’ glasses before buying. Once they have created a ‘Ditto’ then every time they view a pair of glasses on Glasses Direct they can see them on their own face and are able to turn their head from side to side to get a good look at how the glasses suit and fit them.

What makes Ditto cutting-edge is its use of 3D virtual technology with scale. It identifies over 900 unique points on a face to create the most realist try on ever seen. Most other virtual try ons are far less sophisticated and use 2D tools with no scale. It is only available in the UK from Glasses Direct.

For near sighted customers the Ditto experience is superior to trying on frames in a store. This is because you need to remove your prescription glasses to try on a frame in store that you then cannot see clearly.

Ditto is important as a market changer because the most significant barrier to buying glasses online is the ability to try on product before buying. In a Glasses Direct survey of 818 regular glasses wearers in 2015, 71 per cent who said they would not buy glasses online gave ‘I like to try on glasses’ as the reason. The significance of the barrier as a brake on online sales is demonstrated by the fact that only 2 per cent of prescription eyewear sales currently take place online, compared to 17 per cent for clothes.The effect has been dramatic. Customers who use Ditto view 78 per cent more pages and are 40 per cent more likely to buy than those who don’t.

Ditto works as a standalone but also combines with Home Trial, a service pioneered by Glasses Direct, to create a virtuous circle. Home trial enables customers to choose four frames and try them on at home for free with no obligation to buy. Half of customers who have a home trial go on to purchase and at an increased AOV of 10 per cent. It’s an especially important validation service for new customers (one third of whom use it) as they can see the physical product’s quality. Customers who use Ditto are 68 per cent more likely to select a home trial and the choices they make for home trial will be more relevant.

The judges commented that Ditto transforms an inherently difficult part of the customer journey into a driver of customer satisfaction.

Group Chief Marketing Officer Sven Ripper commented: “We are thrilled to win this award as it is recognition for our unstinting customer focus. We are not just committed to continued innovation to improve the online experience, we are committed to changing the way people buy glasses vis-a-vis the high street by providing the best value for money and customer experience possible.”