Talking about the magical unicorns of India, there are some who have revolutionized the industry they work in. One such revolutionary unicorn is Lenskart, which has brought about some significant changes in the eyewear industry.
Lenskart revolutionized the unorganized eyewear industry in India. Started as an online portal for contact lenses, the company moved on to introduce prescription glasses and sunglasses in its product range as well.
With cutting edge technology which provides 3D Try-on services and online eye check-up services, Lenskart has now made its presence in the offline market as well and operates in more than 550 stores across the country now.
With the mission to become the Maruti Suzuki of the Indian eyewear industry over the next ten years, Lenskart India keeps bringing in new and innovative products and services in its range.
Lenskart India: How It All Began?
The company was founded by Peyush Bansal who started Lenskart in 2010 along with Amit Chaudhary and Sumeet Kapahi in 2010. Peyush, who used to work at Microsoft, also founded the company Valyoo Technologies, which is the parent company of Lenskart.
While pursuing his post-graduation in Management at IIM B, he launched Valyoo Technologies with SearchMyCampus as the first business portal in 2007. The site aimed to offer solutions to different kinds of problems faced by the students. It offered accommodation, books, internships, carpool facilities, part-time jobs, etc.
While exploring this avenue, he discovered that the eyewear industry is one of the neglected industries which had not been tapped by e-commerce giants such as Amazon and EBay yet.
With this in mind, he launched Flyrr.com in the US, and after receiving a positive response there, he decided to launch the platform in India. Thus, Lenskart was launched in India in 2010.
Business Model of Lenskart
Lenskart India offers more than 5,000 styles of frames and 45 different types of superior quality lenses to its customers. The designs are in line with the latest trends in eyewear, courtesy of the in-house team of designers, and stylists who keep a tab of the latest trends.
It follows an inventory-led business model where it passes on these designs to its manufacturers. This, and the supply chain followed by Lenskart, helps them to keep the cost of their products under control.
While developing their product, some of the things that the company keeps in mind are the – superior quality of the product, a variety for the consumers, product innovativeness, excellent marketing strategies, and services such as a 3-D trial facility.
The brand’s focus is not just on the trendiness of the product but also on its durability and quality. It uses robotic technology imported specially from Germany, which allows Lenskart to be the only brand in India which is able to make eyewear with up to 3 decimals of accuracy.
Catering to the Indian sentiment of – ‘aur dikhao’, Lenskart India has over 5,000 styles of frames and over 45 types of lenses. They don’t just offer reading glasses but also offer a range of the latest designer sunglasses.
Lenskart has also revolutionized the eyewear industry by using cutting edge technology. It offers services such as 3-D trial facilities in order to make the process smoother for its customers. It also follows an aggressive marketing strategy where it offers its first-time customers their first frame free of cost.
Lenskart has changed its model over the years and follows an Omni-channel retail model. In an Omni-channel retail model, the business offers services both online as well as offline mode. Initially, it just had an online presence, but soon it made its mark in the offline world as well. It now has over 550 stores in 30+ cities across India.
The main agenda of Lenskart India behind opening up brick and mortar stores was that Indian consumers were a little apprehensive of purchasing eyewear online. The customers wished to try the product out in a physical presence, and touch and feel it in order to be absolutely sure about its quality.
Also, opening up physical stores helped the brand grow its business faster and gain the trust of its customers. They used the Omni-channel to convert their offline customers to online by offering them application and portal facilities. This also helped them in strengthening their ties with the customers.
Lenskart Funding and Valuation
Lenskart funding has been done by 12 investors that include PremjiInvest, Kedaara Capital, Chiratae Ventures, TPG Growth, Ratan Tata of Tata Sons, Rajeev Chitrabhanu, Adveq, Eqip Capital, IFC Venture Capital Group, etc. It has managed to raise a sum of $459.6 million in over 9 funding rounds.
In December 2019, Lenskart raised $275 million from SoftBank Vision Fund after which it reached a valuation of $1.5 Billion and had generated a revenue of Rs. 486.26 crore in 2019.
The Eyewear Industry
Currently, almost 50% of the world population needs to wear glasses, and in India alone, almost 1/3rd of the population requires them. However, out of the 1/3rd, about 25% of them actually address their eye problem and wear spectacles.
The eyewear sector in India is extremely unorganized. There are just 10,000 optometrists, whereas there is a requirement for about 40,000 optometrists. However, since the industry is moving towards becoming a more organized sector, there is a lot of growth potential.
The industry had experienced a growth rate of 30% on a yearly basis in the earlier years of its business, and currently, it is a $10 million market. With more people becoming aware of their eye problems and people buying spectacles to follow trends, more than 1.5 million spectacles are sold in India each day.
Competition Analysis: What Makes Lenskart Stand Out?
Lenskart faces competition from both offline and online players. Some of its main competitors are GKB Opticals, Coolwinks, Specsmakers, Deals4Opticals, Lensbazaar, Vision Express, and Titan Eyeplus. Lenskart also faces competition from e-commerce giants such as Amazon, Flipkart, PayTM, etc. who also offer eyewear online.
The eyewear industry is highly unorganized. The organized part just constitutes about 9-10% of the 18,000-20,000 crore market. Although Lenskart has around 70% of the market share among the organized players, its main challenge is to steer customers away from the unorganized sector, which offers product knockoffs which are available at low costs.
With an aggressive marketing strategy, different price points, and unique and innovative products and services, Lenskart can win over its competitors. The company currently has Bhuvan Bam as its brand ambassador.
It also offers products at different price points, starting from Rs.345 and reaching up to Rs.30,000, thus reaching customers from different segments. It constantly needs to come up with innovative plans in order to stay competitive and relevant in the long run. Some services like eye check-up at home are really appreciated by the customers.
The Road Ahead
With its vision – ‘Vision to India’, Lenskart India seeks to reach the masses by coming up with a low-cost franchise model. This model, Lenskart Lite, would help them launch the system in Tier 3 and 4 cities and also increase their reach in Tier 2 cities.
It also launched daily contact lenses which can be disposed of easily. With the help of their product Aqualens, Lenskart’s aim is to provide affordable and less complicated eyewear solutions. At just Rs.40 a day, it would be extremely affordable to the regular masses who want both trend and cost.
Lenskart India’s main goal is to narrow the gap between selected and not selected and plans on opening up more than 500 stores in the next two years. It plans to reach a total of 2,000 stores by the end of 5 years.