By  on July 15, 2009

Ray-Ban this month will open its first online store, making it easier for consumers to find and purchase new styles.

The site is launching as the 70-year-old company enjoys a bit of a fashion revival. Its iconic Wayfarer sunglasses, newly recolored in bright solids such as red and turquoise, have been widely photographed on the street and on celebrities.

The Web store “is a natural extension, a logical step for the brand, providing the loyal customer with limited access to the brand” more accessibility, said Pierre Fay, executive vice president of Wholesale NA Luxottica Group, which owns Ray-Ban.

The company declined to share revenue projections, but Fay said, “we definitely believe this will be a substantial revenue maker.”

The site has some unusual features, such as virtual try-on, which the company calls Virtual Mirror. It debuted last month on the old site in preparation for the launch.

Shoppers with a Web cam can try on sunglasses virtually. The Virtual Mirror superimposes an image of sunglasses over video of the shopper. The fit and proportion are accurate, and the customer can see how the glasses will fit on his or her face from various angles by turning his or head, Fay said. The virtual reality technology was developed with the French company Fitting Box.

“We have positioned the brand on the premise that the most fashionable thing is yourself, and Virtual Mirror is really allowing the consumer to make an individual choice of self expression, which is the sense of the Ray-Ban brand,” he said.

A game on the company’s existing marketing site called “Colorize” riffs off the company’s new design strategy. It lets users play with changing the color of various iconic sunglass styles.

The existing site also features a “community” section in the style of social networking profiles. Each “profile” shows a photo of a person wearing Ray-Bans with their name and something about them, such as their favorite song.

The store will open first in the U.S., which is Ray-Ban’s number-one market.

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