The Future Of Eyewear Industry And New Offerings By Luxottica Group
The way that we are looking at it is, we are looking at the next quarter, which is the July to September 2020 quarter as the recovery quarter. A lot of sales that we are seeing right now could also be pent up demand, so the next quarter is what we are looking at as the recovery quarter and at the end of the next quarter or the first week October as we start hitting the festive season, we could start looking at growth versus last year.
New offerings by Luxottica Group:
There is something very interesting that is coming out of Covid-19 – ‘Health and Safety’ is coming out as the number one priority for the consumer, and under this umbrella comes ‘protection’.
So that’s how we are interpreting it - protection is something which is of paramount importance to the consumer here. When we say protection - eyewear does play a great role in the sense that eyewear creates a barrier against many harmful elements for a consumer. It may not provide 100% protection, but it does provide a barrier.
So very broadly there are 3 buckets/ categories when we look at protection:
- One is an existing category of ‘sunglasses’ which has been protecting you against UV Rays for quite some time and other than that protects you against dust particles and other harmful elements as well.
- Then there is a new category which for us which did not exist at all till last year - ‘safety glasses’. We were not selling this India at all, very few institutional inquires and some deliveries that we did for the armed forces and against any specific orders is what we have done as far as safety glasses were concerned, and other than that we haven’t done anything in this category at all. Now we see a demand for safety glasses which provides a higher degree of protection for a wearer and yet not compromise on the optics.
- Third is an interesting category which is a confluence of the two - if you were to say sunglasses are fashion and safety glasses are pure protection, so there is a combination of fashion & protection called ‘clear glasses’ which is coming up. We are entering the CLEAR GLASSES category with our house brands like Ray-Ban, Oakley and Vogue and other brands as well.
This new range of CLEAR GLASSES can be worn at any point of time. So if you are working in an office and you would like to have protection against harmful elements or harmful rays of the digital screens, there are a lot of people today that are looking at protective eyewear, so we would be offering it for them very soon. These will be launched next month in India.
Supporting our Partner Stores
We are working with all our partner retail stores quite closely, in fact, we have brought out very detailed guidelines and we have shared these guidelines prepared by us with them in terms of how they should take care of their stores.
We have focused on awareness, training and technology as key drivers to ensure that our partner retail stores provide a safe environment for their own employees as well as the consumers while ensuring that consumer experience and ability to make the best choice is not impaired.
Our retail partners have put in place robust SOPs to ensure health, safety and well-being of their employees and customers. Some of the measures include limiting the number of people through appointment-based selling, sanitization of frames and sunglasses before and after trials, providing a safe and clean environment for eye exams, thermal scanning, usage of face masks and gloves etc.
As a category, eyewear is driven by customers’ need for an engaging and enjoyable experience inside a retail store, as eyewear is a personal statement. In the sense that when you get your eyewear tested you do need to interact with the doctor there and you have to take care of the measurement of your eyes and all that stuff, so how do you keep that environment safe, both for the doctor and the patient, that is the other thing that these stores are working on.
A couple of things – we are constantly trying to leverage technology inside our partner stores - how technology can play a big role in shortening consumer stay inside the store and at the same time in making the experience more engaging. One such way is the web stores and digital presentation of curated collections that can help to shortlist products at home, which can then be physically tried-on for final selection and purchase at the store.
Another fascinating technology that we are working on is the ‘Virtual Try-On’ - a confluence of digital and physical at the retail store. We, at Luxottica, are pioneering a new tool that will help our partner stores to allow their consumers to virtually try-on our entire assortment on a tablet or iPad, of all our brands, irrespective of whether the store has the physical product or not. This on one hand ensures that the consumers do not have to physically try many products(and thus limit exposure) and on the other hand enables the retailer to offer a very wide variety of products, even when not in his inventory. So, it helps them shorten their journey, helps limit their exposure as they are not touching any frames and yet they have a much wider choice in terms of the entire collection being available across our entire brand portfolio. So, this is something that we are working on right now.