Any person who wears glasses or contact lenses is well aware of the difficulty of physically purchasing the same. Going through the difficult process of scheduling time to visit the optician, picking appropriate frames, examining several styles, selecting the glasses, and then being forced to wait a few days to receive our personalised glasses requires a lot of patience and time. The time and energy required to go through this arduous process in order to obtain our eyewear accessories have long since passed for all of us.
In response to these issues, Lenskart, India’s largest eyeglasses company, emerged. This website has significantly revolutionised the process of purchasing eyewear by streamlining it.
This company started out as an online platform that sold contact lenses, but it eventually expanded to offer prescription glasses and sunglasses as well. Have you ever wondered about the history of this platform or how it came to be where it is today?
An online store called Lenskart focuses in eyeglasses accessories. The platform offers its clients the freedom to buy things either online or through their unique offline stores and operates in both online and offline distribution modalities. The business offers a number of services, including in-home eye exams. A unicorn company designation was just attained by Lenskart around the end of 2019.
The platform currently offers more than 5,000 different frame designs and a wide variety of lens options. It produces, assembles, supplies, and distributes its goods to 460 retailers across India. Valyoo Technologies is the parent business of the platform. Its product line includes a wide range of eyewear items, such as eyeglasses, reading glasses, computer glasses, contact lenses, frames, anti-glares and eye accessories.
to address the problem of the insufficient use of spectacles among those who require them, the platform places a strong emphasis on promoting eye health and the value of vision testing. Currently, Lenskart does 15,000 eye exams daily. Its goal is to offer eyeglasses that are both trendy and inexpensive while also guaranteeing that they are of the highest quality possible.
The company also noted in a TechCrunch piece that it sees a lot of promise in India, particularly in the rural areas where there is a shortage of qualified optometrists. The platform offers free eye screening tests to prospective customers in an effort to lower opposition. Additionally, it enables customers to reserve a pair of glasses and put them on at home before making a purchase. The platform not only features physical stores but also a significant online presence. Users are able to buy things from its online inventory while also having the option to return, swap, and virtually try them out.
Peyush Bansal launched the platform along with Amit Chaudhary and Sumeet Kapahi in the year 2010 when they founded Lenskart. Peyush had previously worked at Microsoft before starting Lenskart. Additionally, he founded Valyoo Technologies, the parent company of Lenskart.
Peyush completed his studies at McGill University in Canada before founding searchmycampus in 2007, a classifieds website that specialised in offering solutions to the many different problems that students may confront. The website included services including lodging, books, part-time jobs, and internship chances.
He saw a potential in the eyeglass business while working with small retail establishments in the US and assisting them in growing their online presence from India. He realised that this sector had not been fully explored by the popular e-commerce companies.
Keeping this in mind, he established Flyrr.com in the US, a website that only sold eyewear. He decided to explore the Indian market after seeing a positive response there and started Lenskart in India in 2010.
Everything started when Peyush Bansal, CEO of Lenskart, decided to launch his own business in India after realising there was a gap in the eyewear market. He came to the conclusion that, of those who need glasses, only a small percentage actually wear them, mostly because the glasses are of poor quality or are expensive.
Later, Amit Choudhary and Sumeet Kapahi joined Bansal as the trio set out to change society’s opinion of spectacles as being out of style and turn them into a widespread fad.
Because of this, Lenskart started out as a standalone e-commerce business before evolving into an omnichannel platform.
The Business Model
According to Peyush Bansal in an interview with Business Standard, the site used an inventory-led business strategy in which the designs are sent to their producers. This business model and Lenskart’s supply network help it keep the costs of its products in check.
One of the first brands in India to use the robotic method, Lenskart sells micro-precision glasses that are accurate to three decimal places.
In an effort to streamline the procedure for their customers, the platform also offers options like 3-D trial services. They use an aggressive marketing strategy, giving their first-time customers the initial frame free of charge.
Lenskart currently follows the Omni-channel retail approach. According to this strategy, the company offers services in both offline and online modes. The platform’s main motivation for opening physical locations was to address Indian customers’ reservations about purchasing eyewear online because they preferred to personally examine, feel, and use the products to confirm their quality.
Recent Growth and Development
The platform has recently been looking to invest in order to establish its second manufacturing facility in India. The business has made an investment in Tango Eye, an AI-driven software platform.
The pandemic and the constraints it has brought about have caused the platform to gain more online popularity. According to a recent Inc42 analysis, the company’s internet sales have increased from 20% to 40% of its overall revenue. In contrast to the 70% achieved before the pandemic, online sales now account for 90% of the company’s total sales.
Additionally, the platform has forecasted growth of at least 20% for its current fiscal year, which will end in March 2021. The platform has also stated that it expects to add 200–300 stores in 2020. Currently, Lenskart operates 600 locations. To entice more customers in the middle of pandemic limitations, the site has implemented a number of services, including appointment-based shopping and intensive sanitization techniques.
PremjiInvest, Kedaara Capital, Chiratae Ventures, TPG Growth, Ratan Tata of Tata Sons, Rajeev Chitrabhanu, Adveq, Eqip Capital, as well as IFC Venture Capital Group are some of Lenskart’s top investors.
According to TechCrunch, the platform has so far raised $456 million in all of its fundraising rounds.
The platform’s most recent investment was $275 million that it received in December 2019 from SoftBank Vision Fund, which helped it reach a $1.5 billion value.
Since its founding, Lenskart has faced numerous obstacles, but it has prevailed by combining consumer enthusiasm with a favourable work environment and setting rigorous goals. The platform has a lot of potentials to grow and establish a dominant position in the near future with its current objectives in place.