Lenses And The Digital World
The world is now divided into two eras ie pre Covid and post Covid. And it seems to be all about adapting to the new situations and the new normal. How does dispensing of lenses change in the digital world or does it really change?
The new normal is to ‘Go Digital’. But the opticians are confused as to what going ‘digital’ really means. Does it mean digital presence (website)? Does it mean enabling digital purchase (online store)? Does it mean providing service digitally (tele-optometry)?
With covid not helping sales or the situation, this confusion is adding to the problems of the opticians. Already burdened by competition from online stores, the inability to really go digital has only increased the negative sentiment in the market.
There have been many industry leaders promising a lot of things but all of it has been in some ways related to increasing the profits margins of their own products. So frankly there’s not been much help from the industry to really lift up the opticians. But there’s a brighter side to this.
The last few years have led to an era that requires ‘differentiation’. And this is the word that a lot of speakers and advisers have been pushing for. That opticians has to ‘differentiate’ have to differentiate themselves from just being sellers or dispensers and that they provide a value added service. This ‘differentiation’ is almost impossible when everyone is being different in the same way!
So how really can an optician be different?
If there’s one thing that online stores and malls have not been able to take away from the opticians it’s the specialisation that they have to test patients and dispense the right type of lenses. And in this area there have recently been a lot of discussions on the tele-optometry segment that opticians really might need to work on for testing patients.
However when it comes to the dispensing part of lenses, that’s an area where opticians could probably try and differentiate themselves. How can the industry help the opticians or rather what should the opticians expect from a lens company in today’s digital era?
The Len’s Company’s Website Should be Simple And Minimal
A lens company’s website should ideally be simple and minimal. It should be easy for the optician as well as the end consumer to understand the science and technology behind the lenses.
After Sales Service - Digitally!
Yes, it’s possible for a lens company to service an optician digitally. And this service should be made simple and easy. For example on a site like Amazon, the consumer is confident because the return and refund process is simple and it works. Having something of a process that makes it easy for an optician to redirect a consumer’s lens issues to the lens company should be easy and something that works.
Automation Of Processes
With opticians being understaffed these days and responsibilities of multiple people or departments falling on individuals, a certain level of automation is expected from a website that provides service to opticians. So automating repetitive tasks and ensuring there’s fewer clicks and that the process for asking for service and also getting service delivered is smooth and seamless is a definite must.
The Ordering Process
Finally and probably the most important is the ordering process that should be something do-able from any digital device and from any location. Having the limitation of ordering only from a certain machine or certain location is archaic and today the optician like any other consumer expects flexibility. And along with flexibility a whole lot of reliability. Ensuring that the promises offered by the ordering application are met and that each stage is trackable will define the success of the website and the application.
So that’s what I, as a millennial, and a relatively new entrant to this industry feels about the digitalisation of the lens aspect. I look forward to evolving with the industry and moving forward digitally.
- Pratik Bhatt