Modernising The Lens Business
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There’s been a lot of talk recently about modernisation and the word 'modern retail business’ seems to crop up more often than not. So what exactly does ‘modern retail’ mean? Pratik Bhatt from Zylux Lenses, helps us find out.
Modern retail is a term, generally used to refer to chains or groups of businesses, that have evolved in the recent past. These organisations could have existed a long time ago and they don’t even need to be chains but they have adopted methods to run their business that are much newer and have made a clear effort to move away from the traditional mode of doing business.
They include larger players such as hypermarkets, supermarket chains and mini-markets. Their retail operations are planned meticulously and operations use a more organised approach to inventory management, merchandising and logistics management.
At Zylux, we have adopted this approach and I feel it’s the way we can progress. However the growth can be faster if the whole optical industry takes this approach in the lens manufacturing, operating & delivering process as well.
To make it clearer, let’s distinguish between the traditional and a modern approach in the optical lens ecosystem.
Traditional Approach: It’s common knowledge that training is one of the most important pillar of the lens business. In a traditional environment, a trainer approaches the optician and physically visits each outlet explaining about different products & services offered which is a time consuming process.
Modern Approach:In a modern approach, training is done over Online Sessions with a bunch of Opticians batch by batch and one jumbo training programs are arranged zone wise under one roof to talk about the new product & services. This way the company saves time & money and thereby doing the training part successfully.
Traditional Approach: In the traditional approach the optician calls the lab and places the order over a telephone call, which is time consuming with chances of miscommunication always looming large, increasing the scope for delays in the order and creating a bad customer experience.
Modern Approach: In the Modern Approach the ordering process should be completely software based directly punching the order to the production department without going through several calls via the operations team. Thereby reducing the time and error effect involved while producing the lens. A confirmation SMS or whatsapp Message is sent to the customer confirming their order.
Traditional Approach: Standard Company provided promotions are done like in store branding or a local hoarding.
Modern Approach: Modern lens product promotions are mostly done via online channels like Instagram, Facebook or WhatsApp where maximum awareness is possible due to mass users on each platform thus taking your brand and product awareness to the next level.
Traditional Approach: In a traditional environment, physical formats like cash, cheque or DD are still being used as payments. And for the payment collection, there’s generally a person employed to make these visits making it a time consuming process.
Modern Approach: In a modern ecosystem, payments are always digital using payment gateways or other digital formats. Reminders for payment are also automated with email or sms reminders. Modes of payments like payments used include UPI or QR codes which are fast, simple and easy to render and available 24/7.
Traditional Approach: Earlier the business card was one of the primary ways to announce that you are a businessperson. And then there were traditional media like Print, Radio and TV that were benchmarks of how successful your business was.
Modern Approach :In the modern world, business cards have been replaced by websites and every business needs to have one. It doesn’t matter if it’s simple or fancy, it just has to be effective. Based on the existence of the website, other platforms are used to do the promotion of your business. For example, social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Whatsapp etc. These days the biggest organisations and the smallest startups have the same level playing field when it comes to making themselves visible. Of course, after that it’s the level of creativity and investment and of course the product and service that matters.
Traditional Approach: Customer’s data was stored in account books or maybe spreadsheets making any synchronisation between data almost impossible.
Modern Approach: Today, data management is an integral part of the business and how you use your data is directly connected to the success of your business. Your customer data has to be accessible not just for your accounts team but also your marketing team (for digital marketing) and support team (for handling complaints) etc. This data is almost always handled by a professional CRM platform.Conclusion
Even if it is just the beginning, there’s definitely a visible move by many organisations that are moving towards a modern retail ecosystem. And this is not limited to just optician and lens labs but a rather universal approach which extends to the end consumer and would make the end customer experience a whole lot easier in the long run. And a better customer experience results in better customer retention, which in my opinion, is the indicator of growth.
Pratik Bhatt :
Founder, Zylux Lenses