In an exclusive interview to Nilotpal Chakravarti, Peyush Bansal, Founder and CEO at Lenskart.com talks at length about digital marketing and how it helps market a niche product in the e-commerce space and why an offline strategy is also important.
TA: How big a role will innovative purchase experiences like virtual try-on tool or a home trial play in the coming years with regards to online eyewear industry?
PB: In this highly competitive e-commerce space, innovation is the only way through which organizations can differentiate themselves and break the clutter. When we talk about a category like eyewear, along with the look and feel of the product, its fitment and reassurance on the quality to consumers also become imperative. To provide the customer with a seamless experience and drive them to buy a product like eyewear online, Lenskart introduced innovative and one of a kind services like Virtual 3D try on and Free Home Trial, to name a few. Home Trial service brings five chosen frames at ones doorstep instilling a sense of trust in customers while they purchase eyewear online. On the other hand Virtual 3D try on engages with potential customers by giving them an option to try all the frames online in an innovative manner, driving more people to buy eyewear online. Lenskart’s focused investment on cutting edge technology enables the company to increase the touch points and reach out to maximum number of people.
TA: Lenskart has a wide reach across the B2C market, what are your plans to churn out same results with the online B2B market and wholesale clients?
PB: Lenskart wants to make eyewear a very accessible and affordable product for one and all in the country. To this effect and to reach out to maximum people via multiple touchpoints, we do co-branded marketing activities; give cash backs and special offers etc. Some of our partners are Peppertap, Free culture, Healthkart, First Cry, Tata Sky, Reliance, Yatra.com, Go Ibibo, Feecharge and SBI and through our partnership with them, we aim to givelucrative deals to customers. In this way, more and more people get to touch and feel our products, ultimately making Lenskart synonymous to eyewear in the country.
TA: The concept of bringing an existing assortment of fashion brands online has been around for quite a while now. Any plans to dish out private labels on the portal too?
PB: Unlike other e-commerce players that follow a marketplace model, at Lenskart, we also manufacturer eyewear along with selling other brands. We bring to our customers high quality eyewear at surprising prices with no middle man cost involved. Lenskart is the only eye wear company in India to have invested in 3 German manufactured MEI machines that use high end technology to deliver micro-precision glasses with 0.00 degree power error.Vincent Chase, our in-house brand inspired from international designs from across the globe is doing extremely well mainly because of its high quality and low prices. On the other hand John Jacobs is a premium Italian brand extensively promoted by Lenskart, targets aspirational consumers who want to own the latest world class designs of eyewear.
TA: More and more companies are now looking to go the Hybrid Marketing way. Lenskart is also looking to aggressively expand offline. Can you kindly elaborate what’s in the pipeline?
PB: Businesses have started to realize that it is imperative to have multiple platforms for customer interface to ensure success. Lenskart follows ‘Assisted E-Commerce’ way of doing business. This majorly refers to hand-holding the customers to buying online, via multiple mediums and touch-points that ultimately leads to addressing the issues of accessibility, affordability in an extremely niche and complex category of eyewear. To strengthen our offline presence, we introduced one of a kind services like Free Home Eye Check-up, Free Home Trial, Offline stores, etc. and all the services are doing very well. We will definitely scale up these services in the near future to penetrate further in the market.
Currently, the Free Home Trial is present in 40+ cities. Talking of the offline stores, Lenskart currently has over 100 stores (company owned and franchisee) spread across more than 66 India cities, some of them being New Delhi, Chandigarh, Pune, Agartala, Tirupathi, Siliguri, Raipur, Haridwar, Varanasi. We plan to have around 2000 stores in the next 2- 3 years. We are adding approx. around 2-3 stores per week, including stores in smaller tier 2 and tier 3 towns.