ZEISS has launched its innovative concept, the Relaxed Vision Center, in India. What does that signify for opticians and consumers? We find out in conversation with the ZEISS Management
India’s first ZEISS Relaxed Vision Center was launched at Eyesense Opticians, Bengaluru, by Dr Raymund Heinen, President and CEO, ZEISS Vision International GmbH. Among those present on the occasion were Daniel Sims, Managing Director, ZEISS India, Srinivasan Parthasarathy, Division Manager – Vision Care, ZEISS India, and Yogesh Jain, Team Leader, Eyesense Opticians. In conversation with Siraj Bolar, they share their thoughts on the Vision Center and why ZEISS continues to be a leader in the optical world.
Siraj Bolar (SB): For those from the optical fraternity with whom you are communicating for the first time, Raymund, how would you like to introduce yourself?
Dr Raymund Heinen (RH): My journey with ZEISS began in 2008 when I joined as COO of the Carl Zeiss Vision Group, and gradually worked my way up to become the President and CEO of ZEISS Vision International.
In terms of vision, ZEISS is the leading manufacturer globally of all kinds of spectacle lenses, and we serve independent opticians all over the world. Based in Germany, we manufacture round about 80 million lenses a year, from the highest level – the most sophisticated ones to mid-sized or mid category.
SB: How about sharing details about the launch of the ZEISS Relaxed Vision Center in India?
RH: We had introduced this concept several years ago in Germany, and today there are a lot of centers all over the world. We all know people have some special needs for eye glasses, other than prescription lenses. They need more analytical lenses, which are not possible to get in the conventional optical stores. That is why we introduced the ZEISS retail experience, so that we understand the customers’ needs in terms of vision and provide them with the best solutions. This is the first one in India and I hope it is a big success. We hope that we will be able to convince other opticians in other cities to adopt a similar approach.
SB: What is the success ratio of the Relaxed Vision Center concept in other parts of the world? How has it helped sales and branding?
RH: ZEISS Vision Centers have made a significant impact across the globe, and today we have over 80 such stores all over the world. These centers have been running successfully and have acted as a catalyst for revenue growth.
SB: In the near future, how many more such stores have been planned in India and in which cities? What are your expectations from India?
RH: The plan is that in the next 3 years we would like to have at least one such center in each of the major cities in India. The concept will now become a lot popular after people see the success of our very first Vision Center in Bengaluru.
SB: What is the significance of choosing Bengaluru and Eyesense Opticians for the launch?
RH: Yogesh is a very smart businessman, and a trusted ZEISS partner with more than ten stores. Yogesh can explain better why Eyesense was chosen to be the first to have this privilege.
Yogesh Jain (YJ): We have been working with ZEISS from a very long time and we trust each other. There is a lot of understanding and teamwork when it comes to critical cases. We selected Bengaluru because it is our hometown. We had been wanting to have one store as the ZEISS Relaxed Vision Center, but we were not able to finalise the location. As soon as we got one here, we decided that this had to be the first ZEISS store. Once we achieve success here, we can spread to other parts of the country. We have a system that there is one ZEISS quality globally. Some companies have different standards depending upon regions. With ZEISS, it is one quality and one standard around the globe.
SB: ZEISS is known for its superior technology and product line. Yogesh, how will you position this latest Relaxed Vision Center project in India?
YJ: There is only one positioning, and that is premium. This is the only place where users can get perfect and maybe the most accurate lenses, from the world’s best luxury brand. This is the only place in the country where consumers will get both – the best lenses and the best eyewear products in the world of luxury.
SB: Daniel, you are involved with technology. Would you like to add to what Yogesh is saying?
Daniel Sims (DS): I am wearing a ZEISS prescription lens, tailored for my eyes, measured by ZEISS equipment, designed as per my visual needs, and this is the best visual experience I am having from this lens. I think what they have done is that they have brought premium brands of frames and superior lenses together. This is not only luxury, but there is ZEISS technology too.
YJ: I will say that this is not only about looking better, but also about seeing better. We have brought the best of both the worlds together.
SB: Srinivasan, as a Division Manager, what is your estimation about the Indian market for concepts like this? And what kind of market share are you looking at?
Srinivasan Parthasarathy (SP): We restarted in India about three years back and are slowly building up the trade. It has been a couple of tough years for us, and now we are in a position where we can change gears and move forward pretty fast. Currently it is of no significance to talk about market share, but yes the objective is to reach a significant market share. ZEISS definitely deserves a fair market share, and in the near future we will surely get it.
SB: Raymund, would you like to add to what Srinivasan has said?
RH: We have been in the international market for more than 170 years and making lenses for spectacles for more than 100 years. As you can see we have been here for a good number of years. So, we have long term business plans, and we think that customers in India deserve better quality like other customers in different parts of the world.
There has been a tremendous change in the way the brand ZEISS was viewed in India. Today customers have more faith in the brand and they also feel more secure while dealing with us. Our customers now know for sure that the lenses that we offer are of world-class quality, thus they also have higher expectations out of the brand. We now have a bigger responsibility in terms of our product offerings and services.
SB: This one is for both Srinivasan and Raymund, how do you counter competition from other players in the market?
SP: We have always been talking about the ZEISS products. Being ZEISS, we have the necessary expertise required in the field of optics, like micro, macro and motion expertise. I don’t think any other company can offer such expertise in the field of optics. We are going to use this expertise in the optical lenses we make, which is definitely going to give consumers a totally different visual experience. ZEISS being an innovative company that spends a lot of time, energy and money in R&D and innovation, we always consider the changing visual needs of our customers and we are able to come up with visual solutions for that. So that’s the strength because of which we have always been leaders.
RH: ZEISS is an optical powerhouse. For example, almost 85 per cent of microchips on mobile phones are made on ZEISS equipments. Only ZEISS is capable of making optics for such microchips. That’s for measurement technology. We are a unique combination of medical and optical expertise, and have always led innovation in technology. For example, we invented free-form technology around 15 years back. Free-form came out of a technology that we used in making microchips, and today everybody uses free-form. We continue to excel and rise because of technology and we will keep doing that. We will keep making more progress, doing more research. The next generation will have lenses that understand how the brain uses messages coming through the eye. Because what you see is not because of what your eyes see, but what your brain makes out of it. Our future products will be made considering this.
SB: That’s very interesting to know. We look forward to seeing such technologies from ZEISS. All the best.
ZEISS Relaxed Vision Center
Zeiss Vision Centers are known world-over for their quality and attention to detail. The program ‘ZEISS Vision Center’ stands for a unique business model. While ZEISS is not into retail, this model allows ZEISS to use its years of expertise in optics to create an individual business proposition for selected business partners, Eyesense Opticians in this case, to reach a common goal: growth by delivering a differentiated consumer shopping experience at the ZEISS-branded stores.
Eye care professionals working in such stores are trained to extensively use the ZEISS superior optical technology and to empower consumers to choose the most beneficial customised lens solutions for their needs.
The latest in measurement techniques as well as comprehensive consultations, called the ZEISS Visual Analysis, ensure that customers get an individualised pair of ZEISS lenses. The seven-stage process of this analysis is categorised as follows:
- Vision analysis
- Customised visual profile building
- Vision performance analysis
- Frame selection
- Frame and lens measurement
- Customised lens solution
- Creation of spectacles