It was during my school days, I recognised my difficulty in reading letters written on the blackboard. I was taken to an optometrist and was diagnosed with myopia. I and my mother visited the adjacent optical shop and bought a spectacle as per the prescription (choice is minimum). I was pleased to get my vision clear. But to my embarrassment, everyone started calling me “Soda Glass” seeing the thickness of the glass. The picture is not different even today. However the eyewear industry has evolved over the years. I have discarded my spectacles and now wear a Bausch & Lomb soft contact lens with pride.
As a marketing enthusiast, I was indeed very curious in knowing the consumer behaviour. To me firstly, eyewear market even today is doctor – driven. Consumer seldom takes decision without consulting a doctor. Retailers have resolved this by employing in-house optometrist and through this, I presume the industry developed but with low penetration. Secondly, the stigma towards people wearing a “chashma” (Spectacle) still prevails in the society in general. Thirdly, eyewear is a product by force rather than by choice. Due to this, given a chance people evade wearing specs.
As the consumer evolve industry provide us with enormous opportunity. This cue was taken by the promoters of brand Lenskart.com which disrupted the eyewear industry by leaps and bounds. Lenskart modified the consumer behaviour. Thanks to the technology revolution. Lenskart started in late 2010 was the first homegrown online eyewear marketplace in India. To me, it was a clear clutter breaker. The brand broke the “buyer resistance” by launching free home eye test. The game changer was the 14-day money-back policy which abridged the inhibitions. The whole process of ordering is hassle-free as a Lenskart salesman accompanies the optometrist and helps you in placing the order. Lenskart was also careful in positioning. All their campaigns communicated an aspirational element to spectacles similar to jewelry and made it a fashion statement. Their 3D frame selection was an instant hit.
To make their distribution more perfect, Lenskart started offline stores. Currently, 350 Lenskart offline stores are present in 90 cities which enhances the visibility of the brand. Riding on the trust gained, Lenskart developed their own brands which to me is the most significant decision which will make the brand sustain in the long run. Another tipping point is the value for money pricing. My personal experience is also in the similar line. The website provides catchy discounts which can retain the consumer with the brand.
What haunts me currently is can we make the consumer brand loyal. My personal experience is that I have changed stores as per convenience while buying eye wears. As of now, Lenskart is pretty safe as the majority of their consumers are brand loyal. But what will happen if competition intensifies?
Anyway, kudos to Lenskart to democratize otherwise a category product to a product of choice.