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.
Q&A with Pratik Bhatt, Founder and CEO of Zylux Lenses
Tell us a bit about your background?
I had a modest beginning back in 2016 with as such no big Godfather in the spectacle business.
I started my company with a stock lenses business Importing Quality lenses from South Korea but I quickly understood the saturated market of stock lenses mostly dominated by unorganised players and was in search of a Brilliant Product to stand in the market which is not only of Highest Grade in terms of Quality Performance but also Price Effective and finally, I realised the ecosystem I can build around Prescription Lenses business with a Contract manufacturing firm for a long term contract with my Company in India and hence the Idea & Essence of Zylux was born.
Does the name Zylux mean something? What does heading Zylux mean to you?
As such there no specific meaning for Zylux it was this name we found connecting instantly in the consumer mind and yet giving the brand look more classier than ever which was well received by both the optician partner as well as the end consumer wearing Zylux lenses
Heading Zylux for me is nothing less than raising your own child which needs equal care, attention, and all the good things to make your child grow and nurture in the society. Zylux is my baby and a visionary dream to create a different ecosystem in the prescription lenses business and as a founder, I feel a great sense of responsibility in taking Zylux to all deserving and like-minded opticians of the country.
Being a new entrant, how to expect to compete with the larger and more established players?
Spectacle lenses from all major brands offer either one - quality at a high price (not competitive) or a compromise on quality - which can mean losing the patient for non-satisfaction. Zylux Lenses offers you a solution where both needs are met.
We are a young startup with a clear vision - providing great ophthalmic lenses at down to earth prices- so opticians get to make great margins and provide their patients with hassle-free and unsurpassed vision.
Also our four unique principles of Zylux i.e., Technology, Value, Simplicity and Exclusivity make Zylux stand apart from the other competing brands.
How do you foresee the lens market in India?
I see the lens industry growing in an upward direction both in terms of variety and value with so many variations now available in the market then what we used to have maybe 10 or 15 years back also the consumers are now understanding the importance of wearing quality lenses along with quality sunglasses & frames earlier it was the trend to spend more on branded frames & sunglasses and lesser on lens value which the consumer has now slowly understood the importance of wearing quality lenses along with the science & the geometry behind it.
All thanks to the Independent Opticians of the country which has embedded the importance of wearing quality lenses along with high-quality frames and sunglasses in the minds of the end consumer
So yes I feel it's a great time for any lens company to flourish at this point of time especially when the consumer awareness, as well as the consumer taste regarding spectacle lenses, are both evolving and changing.