- Lenskart had much to cheer in 2019. It grew at 50% year-on-year, launched its 500th store and its total operating revenue grew by 24% in 2019 to Rs 474.31 crore.
- Amit Chaudhary, Co-founder, Lenskart.com tells us how it plans to grow further in the country by increasing its retail presence, investing more in advertising, and lastly, experimenting with newer technologies.
It was after Peyush Bansal, the founder of Lenskart found a huge gap in the eyewear segment that he decided to start his own company in India. He realised that a third of India’s total population needs to wear spectacles and only 25% of them actually wear it; quality and affordability were the two critical barriers here.
Amit Chaudhary and Sumeet Kapahi later joined Bansal and decided to change the perception of glasses from being ‘nerdy’ to a ‘cool-status’ symbol for millennials.
Therefore, Lenskart started as a pure e-commerce company, with a promise of being ‘fashionable’ and to break through the existing clutter, it offered the lazy millennials an option of 3D try-on. To establish its unique proposition further, Lenskart recently on-boarded social media influencer Bhuvan Bam, and tried to destigmatise wearing spectacles.
Lenskart’s mantra seems to have worked as it had much to cheer in 2019. It saw an almost 50% year-on-year growth, launched 500 stores in over 70 cities and ended the year on a perfect note by raising $275 million in a financing round from SoftBank Vision Fund.
According to Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA), its total operating revenue grew by 24% in 2019 to Rs 474.31 crore.
However, the Indian eyewear industry is a potential $10 billion market, which is growing more than 30% on a Y-o-Y basis, so there is a lot more ground that Lenskart is aiming to cover this year.
Amit Chaudhary, Co-founder, Lenskart.com told us that it plans to grow in the country by increasing its retail presence, investing more in advertising, and lastly, experimenting with newer technologies.
After its latest investment round, Lenskart is planning to launch 500 stores by the end of this fiscal and another 5,000 stores over the next five years.
“This year we want to open 500 stores across the country but we now want to focus on few cities first and capture them. While we continue to do what we are doing in the Tier III and Tier IV markets at the same pace, we will increase our pace in the top metros,” says Chaudhary.
Growing on digital
Lenskart took the bet to launch as an online-only platform and has grown exponentially. It would continue to invest 80% of its budget on digital media and being erstwhile computer engineers, Chaudhary says it comes naturally to them.
Telling us why its budget is skewed towards digital, Chaudhary said, “If I want to reach somebody today, there is no better way to do that than through digital. Digital, as a medium, gives you a one-to-one access to the consumer, unlike a big board outside somewhere where you don't even know who is seeing it. So to bring focus to whom you want to show your product and get the access to them -- I think digital plays a very important role and you can measure that. So I think that is one of the reasons we will keep on continuing, embracing this way (virtual and digital way) of marketing and communication to consumers.”
However, Lenskart also uses other platforms like TV and Outdoor just to encourage its audience to embrace digital mediums.
Chaudhary explains, “We have only done digital marketing. We also do TV but it's not part of the significant budget. The idea of using TV is also to embrace digital. So all our TV ads also show that you should go digital and use our 3D try-on. We are also improving the technologies there to make those trials be as fast and accessible as possible. When you look at things like Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat filters, we are hoping to create a very real-time thing there. When you see how the glasses are looking on you in the social filters, you should be able to make a transaction right away.”
When asked if Lenskart is planning to increase its marketing budget this year, Chaudhary said, “Yes. We also have some product brands, Aqua Lens and John Jacobs. So we'll try to grow those parallely and some of the extra money will go there.”
A peek in Lenskart’s future
Chaudhary says Lenskart’s prime objective in 2020 is to make eyewear more and more accessible. He indicated that Lenskart is working on a new technology mode that will help to do 1,00,000 eye check ups on a daily-basis.
Sharing what else is on its agenda, Chaudhary added, “Lenskart of the future would be a global company where we serve consumers keeping India's manufacturing in focus -- make sure that India generates a lot of employment. Lenskart already helps generate a lot of employment in the country, both in terms of manufacturing and retail. We are a full stack business -- manufacturing to retailers, we will continue to embrace this and make it as big as possible.”