Optical solutions provider Lenskart, having turned profitable six months ago, is looking beyond being a manufacturer and retailer for eyewear and now wants to solve vision correction as a whole.
Optical solutions provider Lenskart, having turned profitable six months ago, is looking beyond being a manufacturer and retailer for eyewear and now wants to solve vision correction as a whole. Armed with an offline expansion strategy and upping the ante in the B2B play, the aim for Peyush Bansal, founder and CEO, Lenskart, is to own 50% of market share in eyewear in the next few years.
By December, Lenskart will launch a function that will allow customers to check the power of spectacles within the app and by the end of 2019, the company plans to roll out a pilot that would enable users to conduct eye tests using an app. Twenty per cent of the app-enabled vision correction features is aimed at aiding online customer acquisition, while 80% is to enable retailers in small towns to conduct eye exams through a phone. Standalone retailers especially in non-tier 1 cities, with a store presence anywhere between one and 10, have strongly held customer bases that can be hard to draw out for players like Lenskart.
Therein lies their biggest challenge as repeat purchases or upgrades in metros can be relatively hard to sustain. A loyalty programme priced at Rs 500 could only solve half of that problem; the other half would require entering the B2B space itself.
Bansal elaborates, “We are working towards enabling small town retailers to do vision correction. To do this, they are not going to invest in the Rs 5 lakh instrument themselves. Furthermore, the time to train them would be an add-on.” Even a Tier-4 town retailer, for example, will use the app for vision correction for its customers, starting by retailing two-three pairs of spectacles a day, graduating to 30 or more.
To support this, Lenskart has its manufacturing and offline expansion strategy in place, in addition to expanding its portfolio. Currently, the company has two large format stores in Bengaluru and Pune, with three ‘mega experience stores’ (of around 4000 sq ft each) set to launch in Bengaluru. The revenue aim for these stores is to generate Rs 50 lakh per month. Lenskart’s current store presence stands at over 450, with a plan to add another 500 stores in tier 1 and 2 cities and 2000 stores in tier 3 and 4. Lenskart’s manufacturing facility launched in September last year in Delhi churns out 3 lakh spectacles a month. The company is slated to open another one in 2019 in Bengaluru.
On the product front, Lenskart’s entry in the private label segment with John Jacobs last year was to test the uptake for affordable luxury eyewear at a considerably lesser cost than, say, a Ray Ban. Earlier this year, the company had invested in a California based startup and the result was ThinOptics — highly compact reading glasses that can sit at the back of a phone or Kindle. Apart from this, Lenskart Blu, termed as ‘smartphone lenses’ and Lenskart Air — flexible frames are other recent launches.
Bringing all of this together is a team of 150 engineers which is set to grow by another 100 in 2019. The solution, Bansal says, lies in making technology and supply chain management work together across services, channels and brands. The real challenge in tier 3 and 4 cities however will be all about dislodging the trust customers place in their local optician/retailer.