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How franchising is fuelling the growth of major eyewear players and helping them win big in this segment
The eyewear market in India has witnessed a steep surge in recent years on account of growing sales across an array of segments. This has resulted in significant growth of the Indian eyewear market, which is expected to reach $14,856 million by 2018, as per Ken Research. “Around one-fourth of India’s population need spectacles and the size is expected to exceed 60 per cent witnessing the increasing use of smartphones and other eye-stressing devices among the younger generation,” says Peyush Bansal, Founder and CEO, Lenskart.
The franchise model has helped companies like Lenskart to scale up fast. “A franchisee invests Rs 25 lakh to set up the store, in eye-testing equipment and team; earns 30 per cent on an order and breaks even in a couple of years,” claims Bansal.
Besides, leading eyewear chains are betting on this model for expansion. “An investment of Rs 50 lakh goes into setting up a store in large cities, whereas the investment in smaller towns is around Rs 25-30 lakh,” says Ronnie Talati, CEO - Eyewear Division, Titan Company.
To make the model successful, the franchisor provides certain support and assistance to its business partners. Talking about the same, Devansh Binani, Director, Himalaya Optical, says: “We have dedicated teams to consistently support our franchise partners catering from setting up the store till the start of the operations. The guidance includes training programmes, inventory management, advertising and other vital aspects.”
The industry is moving towards the hybrid model (with online companies going offline and offline companies going online), Bansal says, “It is more to do through making the same product available and touching consumers at various touchpoints.”
As the company generates most of its revenue from the offline channel, it has introduced a new application known as Lenskart Lite to access tier-III and IV people.
Meanwhile, Titan Eye Plus is also looking to expand its retail footprint in tier-III, IV cities and also strengthening presence in existing areas.
Certainly, small town seems to be the new destination for these players.