Brand owners have been pouring in support to the opticians as a collective effort of the optical industry to regain the lost business during the lockdown time. Safilo, Eternity, Essilor, Luxottica and Iris are just a few of them.
Like any other industry or business line, the optical industry business is also looking for ways to overcome the negative effect of COVID-19. The good news is that all stakeholders in the business are beginning to understand the need for helping each other. Needless to say, the current mindset in the industry is keeping everyone united and this should act as a big motivational factor for the whole industry.
The crucial part in this whole process is to create an atmosphere where customers of eyewear products are driven to the retail stores thereby sales of products bump and this in return helps the supply chain like the wholesaler community, brand owners and manufacturers. We see the supply chain of optical products to retailers are taking more and more interest in helping their retailers by offering special discounts on their purchases, easy payment facilities and more importantly providing avenues and materials to promote not only their respective products but also the stores that showcase their products. This positive support is welcomed as it is a mutually beneficial approach as for the success of any business.
Optical business experts indicate that the slump in business should not continue for long as eyewear products come under essential products which one has to buy sooner than later. Some experts believe there to be bigger demand amongst those customers who needed eyewear anyway but had to wait due to the lockdown scenario, these customers would be rushing out to buy now.
Among the brand owners, Safilo is said to have taken the lead in extending digital selling facilities to the stores by introducing their own digital service providers to the opticians. After conducting a series of webinars and getting opticians to attend, now they connect their online buyers to those retailers who stock Safilo products in the former’s locality. For example, the visitors of their Polaroid website can select the product in the website and select the optician in his locality for the product to be delivered or get delivery from. In other words Safilo is connecting new customers to their stockings opticians which in turn must make the opticians more loyal to the suppliers.
On the other hand, Eternity Lifestyle the brand owners of OPIUM is working on providing service to the optician community the facility of creating their own website and promote their products. “This has nothing to do with opium or any of our brands, we just want to be able to help retailers get online, should they need to set up their own website in this current climate where being digital is absolutely imperative” says a spokesperson of Eternity.
Essilor India has launched the “Suraksha” package to the partner ECPs. This initiative covers a mix of business growth strategies such as product innovations, cash flow management, safety-hygiene protocol training and other holistic solutions keeping the ECPs best interest at heart for better business recovery. The Suraksha Package is a complete business-centric solution to help ECPs bring their businesses back to life as stores begin operation across markets, opening in phases.
Keeping safety and protection in mind, Luxottica is focused on awareness, training and technology as key drivers to ensure that the partner retail stores provide a safe environment for store staff and consumers. A new range of Clear glasses have been launched as many people today will be looking at protective eyewear. Especially people working in offices, they would be looking at protection against harmful rays of digital screens.
Iris Brands, another brand owner that has houses brands like KOSCH Elemente and Femina FLAUNT have come up with the idea of what they call #StepUp initiative. This is a six-month-long communication plan to help opticians connect with their customers. It is a monthly program planned up to December, 2020 for which they would create communication material to attract customers to the store. These include flyer inserts for newspapers, whatsapp messages, and other social media material. Participating opticians can have this material customised with their logo etc to share with their customers free of cost.
Very interesting initiatives indeed! One wishes that this spirit of unity continues and the optical industry as a whole flourishes to another level in the coming days!
⇒ Inputs provided by Neelam Solanki