The time dates back to 2010 when Indians are at the cusp of becoming online shoppers and Flipkart already three years into e-commerce is into developing the habit of shopping through screens among Indians. While we could buy electricals, electronics, books, shoes, apparel anything through platforms like Jabong, Myntra, Snapdeal and Flipkart, but buying spectacles online surprised Indians as it requires touch, feel, and trials to purchase one.We are talking about Lenskart Founder Peyush Bansal, who disrupted the eyewear market in India by establishing an organised eyewear retail brand for a niche category that for long has been dominated by unorganised players with minimal reach.
Online Eyewear purchases are unique that require personalised service to reach consumers at their doorsteps. Lenskart has successfully cracked the code of eyewear retail for which it enjoys a customer base of seven million customers annually through its omnichannel shopping experience. Today, Lenskart stands at a $5 billion valuation and has remained profitable despite the tough times of the pandemic by registering revenues worth Rs 967 crore in 2020 with a profit of Rs 18 crore. On the occasion of India’s 73 rd Republic Day, it scripted history by launching 73 stores across 46 cities and 19 states and has ambitious plans to set up 400 stores by 2022, aiming to bolster its foothold in more tier-II and tier-III cities of India.
Its founder Peyush Bansal rose to become the favourite shark by winning the hearts of several Indians at the Shark Tank India show by investing and believing in ventures whose vision was purpose-driven intending to solve bigger problems of mankind. Let us understand how his venture became profitable and what he did right to drive Indians purchase their pair of glasses online.
Lenskart stands at a $5 billion valuation and has remained profitable despite the tough times of the pandemic by registering revenues worth Rs 967 crore in 2020 with a profit of Rs 18 crore.
Lenskart: breaking the retail code in eyewear
Customer service, price points, quality, accessibility, and eye check-up were some of the bottlenecks that the venture faced initially but all of them turned into growth opportunities that local opticians could not provide. Here are some of the strategies that helped it to scale.
Free eye check-up and trials at home: Initially Lenskart began with a unique service to make consumers aware of their need for the right pair of spectacles. They sent their employees on two-wheelers to interact with consumers for free eye check-ups who were reluctant or lazy to meet eye doctors or senior citizens who found it difficult to travel to clinics. This ensured a high conversion rate.
Frame trials online: Lenskart’s website introduced a technology that enabled customers to check frames online thereby turning curious online shoppers into buyers.
Product excellence: Lenskart using its robotic technique with laser precision machines has achieved micro precision with zero-error manufacturing to shape lenses that differed from the local opticians largely.
Foraying into tier-II and tier-III cities: Poor vision due to lack of access to proper eyewear is the largest unaddressed disability in the world. In rural India, around 700 million people need glasses to see properly, but low incomes and difficulty of access to prescriptions prevent them from getting one. Realising the eyewear market to be unorganised, Lenskart leveraged this opportunity by partnering with selected non-optical people from tier-II and III cities to provide free eye checkups. This extended to visiting companies and giving free check-ups to employees