Let’s Listen To The Indian Eyewear Industry!

VisionPlus gets interesting opinions from the industry comrades who were a part of the successful event of ZEISS ‘YOU&EYE’ AWARDS 2016

Mr BK Gupta, Chairman, Vision Rx Lab

VisionPlus (VP): Your take on the idea of ZEISS ‘YOU&EYE’ AWARDS.

BK Gupta (BKG): I think the idea of ZEISS ‘YOU&EYE’ AWARDS is excellent. Until now, there was no authority in India that took this initiative to reward the Indian optical industry. There was a big need for someone to take an initiative to reward various Indian optical retailers who have worked hard to uplift this industry.

VP: Were you satisfied with the overall process? What would you like additional in the next edition?
BKG: The idea of having an awards ceremony for all retail opticians in India was very unique and we are highly appreciative to the ‘You&Eye’ team for recognising all of our achievements.

Well for the next edition to the ZEISS ‘YOU&EYE’ AWARDS I would add only one thing; the addition to maybe more CSR activity prize categories as well as excellence in the digital marketing surface. This is a form of communication that is growing at an immense pace and cannot be ignored anymore.

VP: What should opticians across India do to better themselves and achieve the level of professionalism
seen in developed nations?

BKG: Opticians across India are already working very professionally at a very high level. Opticians with high degree
of professionalism and ethics should not forget that an optician does not only sell a high quality spectacle but dispenses it.

VP: Do you think digital technology will replace brick and mortar or should opticians start using digital to complement their business?

BKG: Digital technology will never replace the optical showroom business which are maintained and managed by innovative, experienced and professionals of dispensing spectacles and delivering only the best quality products. Digital business is spreading across the world and doing well in packaged products like contact lenses and sunglasses. But, serious consumers always prefer to go to their optician and they appreciate the services provided to them while dispensing spectacles and contact lenses by their opticians.

VP: What do you think about YouAndEyeOnline as an awards platform and as a platform for reaching out to consumers?

BKG: YouAndEyeOnline is a fantastic platform to recognise fellow opticians in the Indian marketplace. As well as providing updated news articles, videos and blog posts of the various happenings of the optical industry domestically and internationally.

Mr Darshanlal Madan, Partner, Bonton Opticians

VisionPlus (VP): Your take on the idea of ZEISS ‘YOU&EYE’ AWARDS.

Darshanlal Madan (DM): I attended the programme personally and it was excellent. Mr Siraj Bolar’s efforts were praiseworthy. Being awarded the lifetime achievement award is another form of flattery.

Also, your magazine is an excellent idea. Also, I feel being awarded lifetime achievement award is great and I am looking forward for that to be mentioned in the print.

Regarding your magazine, it is an excellent idea. I may have not gone through it yet but can make use of it in the future.

VP: Were you satisfied with the overall process? What would you like additional in the next edition?

DM: It is a very good and inspiring idea and I think you should continue.

VP: What should opticians across India do to better themselves and achieve the level of professionalism seen in developed nations?

DM: People should be trained both professionally and technically. In my personal opinion, one good showroom is like a small institute.

People should be working hard and building a loyal team. Management and technology both need to be used side by side.

There are people from technical side and management side and one should be able to make use of all the people as well as their skills. Practices like regular meetings will inspire the team.

VP: Do you think digital technology will replace brick and mortar or should opticians start using digital to complement their business?

DM: Both personal and digital are required for a business. Both the technologies are equally important…

Vivek Mendonsa, Marketing Director, Lawrence & Mayo

VisionPlus (VP): Your take on the idea of ZEISS ‘YOU&EYE’ AWARDS.
Vivek Mendonsa (VM): The idea was fantastic, a competitive spirit within the industry will benefit all. The ultimate consumer, patient, client, the business owner, your magazine, ZEISS as well as the participants and the winners. Anything that ‘gets done’, ‘gets measured’.

VP: Were you satisfied with the overall process? What would you like additional in the next edition?
VM: We got over 4,000 clients, suppliers, goodwill ambassadors to vote, a few times the site was down.

We need to create new categories like Indian Spectacle Frame Designer Of The Year, Indian Sunglass Designer Of The Year, Number of Eye Screenings Done In Metro/Non-Metro/Rural India and Eye Hospital Of The Year- North, East, West, South & Central..

What should opticians across India do to better themselves and achieve the level of professionalism seen in developed nations?
VM: I am sure we are already on International levels in many aspects like clinical aspects .

Many patients from all around the world get their cataract done in India as well as have their spectacles made here due to cost-effectiveness. The clients need to own more fashionable eyewear. We need to reach out to 450 cities of India, 29 states, 7 union territories and 6,38,000 villages in India .

VP: Do you think digital technology will replace brick and mortar or should opticians start using digital to complement their business?
VM: Digital stores are already fading off. What quality do they offer in 1,500/- for two pairs of glasses? Disruptive pricing and disruptive quality will ‘drive footfalls’ back to Brick-Mortar Retail.

Some players in the market provide home visit programs that do not even contribute 1-1.5 percent of their total volume business. If you have sufficient quality opticians in your neighbourhood, why would you want someone unknown in your house? Just walk down to the closest Lawrence & Mayo.

Jatinder Singh Thukral, Director, Thukral Opticals

VisionPlus (VP): Your take on the idea of ZEISS ‘YOU&EYE’ AWARDS.

Jatinder Singh Thukral (JT): ZEISS ‘YOU&EYE’ AWARDS was an outstanding initiative taken by VisionPlus in the good interest of the eyewear industry. ZEISS ‘YOU&EYE’ AWARDS created a platform where the hard-work of the retailers and their share in the development of the eyewear industry could be appreciated and admired.

VP: Were you satisfied with the overall process? What would you like additional in the next edition?

JT: The step taken by VisionPlus was a huge success and we appreciate the hard work done by them and their team. VisionPlus always comes up with new ideas and leaves everyone mesmerised by the way they end up presenting things and the commendable efforts they put in.

VP: What should opticians across India do to better themselves and achieve the level of professionalism seen in developed nations?

JT: Opticians in India are already developing at a very good pace and are giving good competition in context of professionalism to the developed nations. There should be an optometrist at every store for the accuracy of vision correction and all the good stores are having it.

Although there are some stores which are not able to give proper vision correction. There is also a requirement of trained staff who could guide the end consumers properly because the optical line is similar to medical line where proper centration of the eyes of the consumer, proper vision correction, proper axis marked to the lens etc., has to be taken care of.

VP: Do you think digital technology will replace brick and mortar or should opticians start using digital to complement their business?

JT: Digital technology cannot totally replace brick and mortar mode of optical business. Sunglasses and contact lenses are a part of luxury and thus can be traded digitally while for spectacles, firms with digital stores are also forced to open offline stores because optical line is similar to medical line and various things are to be taken care of which cannot be taken care of digitally.

The physical presence of the consumer is required at the store to make a perfect spectacle. For contact lenses also, at the initial stage, the consumer requires to understand how to wear them and that can be done only at a physical store but later on it could be bought online.  On the contrary, opticians can also start using digital mode to complement their business and improve their sales of shades and contacts and reach out to masses.

Kunal Shah, CEO, Eye Savers

VisionPlus (VP): Your take on the idea of ZEISS ‘YOU&EYE’ AWARDS.
Kunal Shah (KS): Belonging to an industry which is so old, I was surprised that there was no recognition. The moment I came to know about the awards, I was excited and thought it was a great beginning. It is always great to receive an award but it is not only the winners who enjoyed the victory, the entire optical industry did. Recognition of this kind will motivate people to do better and drive them towards the pursuit of excellence. It enhances their professionalism and innovation. It is good to be on winning side But let me tell you it’s not just we who have won but the entire industry has won.

VP: Were you satisfied with the overall process? What would you like additional in the next edition?
KS: Yes! You pulled together one of the best award ceremonies I have ever attended. From my perspective, everything went very smoothly right from the ease in filing the application to
the main event.

VP: What should opticians across India do to better themselves and achieve the level of professionalism seen in developed nations?
KS: It is all about the mindset. I think lot of our opticians are at par with the opticians at international level. Thanks to the exposure, opticians in India have been traveling a lot internationally. I would also like take this opportunity to thank the magazine like You&Eye for doing a wonderful job in the development of trade. The future of optician in India looks very bright.

VP: Do you think digital technology will replace brick and mortar or should opticians start using digital to complement their business?
KS: I don’t think Digital technology will replace Brick and mortar. Instead B&M stores will transform themselves in order to bridge the gap between the digital and physical world. Opticians offer some unique experiences that consumer cannot get online, whether it is the ability to touch and feel the product, the after sales service or gaining expert advice from the lens experts. They offer a compelling reason to exist. But what’s continuing to effect brick and mortar stores is the ability of consumers to compare the shopping experience. They can pre-shop online, go into a retailer and take a look and still purchase the item online. The main reason they still buy online is for the price. As a retailer if we are able to adopt technologies, pricing and merchandising to match the desire of the customer, there is no threat.

VP: What do you think about YouAndEyeOnline as an awards platform and as a platform for reaching out to consumers?
KS: Great Initiative.

Ammann Kumar, Partner, R Kumar Opticians

VisionPlus (VP): Your take on the idea of ZEISS ‘YOU&EYE’ AWARDS.
Ammann Kumar (AK): It’s an interesting concept. Most industries have awards that inspire a set of players to excel. As long as it helps the industry evolve and challenge the status quo, the awards are a great idea..

VP: Were you satisfied with the overall process? What would you like additional in the next edition?
AK: To be honest we did not really go through the process. The award came as a pleasant surprise..

VP: What should opticians across India do to better themselves and achieve the level of professionalism
seen in developed nations?

AK: For optical dispensing we need to revisit the basics. Most opticians are outsourcing dispensing to manufacturers
and labs. Optometrists, especially the younger lot need to really polish their basics with an aspiration to excel rather than secure a degree and a salary.
I strongly believe that optometry is the backbone of quality opticianry at least in the Indian context. And O-schools aren’t really preparing professionals ready for the market. The industry and academia need to come together. Continuing education needs to be introduced as well. Everything else is cosmetic.

VP: Do you think digital technology will replace brick and mortar or should opticians start using digital to complement their business?

AK: I am not sure if digital will replace brick and mortar. The fact that online businesses have felt the need to have a presence on the high street does indicate that a pure play digital model is not suffice.
Brick and click or multi-channel certainly looks the way ahead. So yes opticians should use digital to complement their business..

VP: What do you think about YouAndEyeOnline as an awards platform and as a platform for reaching out to consumers?
AK: It’s certainly a promising start. How it evolves will determine the relevance of the platform in the longer course.

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