ZEISS ‘YOU&EYE’ AWARDS: Indian Eyewear Retailers Take Centre Stage

ZEISS ‘YOU&EYE’ AWARDS: Indian Eyewear Retailers Take Centre Stage

In our previous edition, we announced the ZEISS ‘YOU&EYE’ AWARDS, a one of its kind platform dedicated to celebrating the excellence in eyewear retail. This issue, VisionPlus talks to key members from the trade and ZEISS to get a deeper insight into the entire concept

eye-on-innovation-zeiss-you&eye-awards-Indian-eyewear-retailers-take-center-stageZEISS ‘YOU&EYE’ AWARDS is an initiative conceptualised by FourPlus Media with ZEISS on board as title sponsors, where the focus is on appreciating the achievements of the Indian eyewear retailers. In the past, FourPlus Media has hosted the grand VP Awards where brand-owners walked away with the coveted trophy and this time, it is the opticians who will take the centre stage.

Opticians are the silent contributors who have played a key role by contributing to the growth of the trade. And through the platform of the ZEISS ‘YOU&EYE’ AWARDS, the endeavour is to appreciate their contribution. A night dedicated to celebrating the excellence in Indian eyewear retail, the grand award ceremony will bring the limelight on the opticians.

Ever since the entries to the ZEISS ‘YOU&EYE’ AWARDS were declared open on July 1, the concept has received an overwhelming response in terms of participation from the Indian eyewear retailers. In order to encourage opticians to participate in bigger numbers, the date of the grand event has also been postponed to November 5, 2016.

The ZEISS view

Srinivasan Parthasarathy

Srinivasan Parthasarathy

Commenting on the ZEISS ‘YOU&EYE’ AWARDS, Srinivasan Parthasarthy said, “The Indian Optical industry has seen a lot of innovations in the recent times. These innovations have happened across different areas of the trade – products, way of doing business, store interiors, the way one reaches out to consumers etc. The innovations are also necessary for the ever changing needs of today’s discerning consumer.”

Adding further he said, “To cater to this new breed of consumers the optical trade is continuously evolving, but these innovations and their impact go mostly unnoticed. ZEISS had wanted to bring this kind of advances to the forefront and found a like-minded partner in ‘YOU&EYE’ to take this forward, thus ZEISS ‘YOU&EYE’ AWARDS was formed. Through this award program we plan to put optical retail practitioners on a platform where they can showcase their innovations and in turn raise the bar in the industry”.

Adding further, Rahul Khetawat, National Manager – Sales & Marketing, Vision Care, said “The first thing is that it will encourage the opticians to showcase their innovations and also will open up opportunities to share best practices. Through this award we can set new benchmarks in terms of innovations done and create better standard.”

Rahul Khetawat

Rahul Khetawat

Rahul also elaborated on the changing dynamics of the Indian optical trade stressing on the importance to differentiate to be noticed by the customer.

“It is not only the industry that is changing, but also the consumers. Today’s spectacle wearer wants to know about the product beforehand. They read up about their eye problems, and the type of lenses that they can use. Then they also have an option now to order the product online, instead of walking to an optician.

The walk in consumers also have the option to choose between a large number of optical outlets available today. So it has become absolutely imperative that the optical industry, especially the optical stores (as they are consumer facing) keep upgrading themselves to be in the lead.In such scenario, differentiation is the key. One must stand apart. To do so many retailers are doing a lot of things differently in terms of dispensing, In-store merchandising, going digital, increasing loyalty base,
etc,” Rahul concluded.

Moving on, we also interacted with Vivek Mendonsa, Marketing Director, Lawrence & Mayo as well as Prema Chande, & to get their perspective on the growth that the trade has witnessed and impact that the ZEISS ‘YOU&EYE’ AWARDS.

Siraj Bolar

Siraj Bolar

Siraj Bolar, Editor-in-Chief VisionPlus Magazine, shares his opinions on the upcoming ZEISS ‘YOU&EYE’ AWARDS

“Since the last issue when we announced the  ZEISS ‘YOU&EYE’ AWARDS, there is a buzz created in the industry and I am very happy to see that. I truly believe that the awards are an excellent benchmarking platform for the industry and that the Indian opticians should make the most of it. In the past, we have hosted a similar awards ceremony where the brand owners were appreciated. And now with this, I believe, we are giving the opticians a chance to claim the fame. I encourage them to come join us in celebrating the excellence in Indian eyewear retail.”

Adding further Siraj Bolar said, “With this unique initiative, we are confident of reaching out to opticians all over the country, giving them a chance to be appreciated by the people that matter the most-their customers. Also, the visibility that they will get during the process will also boost their business.”

Vivek Mendonsa, Marketing Director, Lawrence & Mayo Talks about ZEISS ‘YOU&EYE’ AWARDS

VisionPlus (VP): In the last decade, what according to you is the growth that the Indian optical trade has witnessed?

Vivek Mendonsa (VM): The decade 2006-2016 has been quite an eventful year. We have seen the entrance of International Companies like Vision Express (JV between Reliance Retail & Pearl Vision), and many more. Companies like Titan Eye + have moved from their core sector of watches & jewellery into Eye Style space. Lots of family opticians starting expanding ,from the typical 3-4 Stores to more. We saw the arrival of lots of international brands come in directly and not go through the distributor route (via Kalbadevi). Clearly, the trade is growing.

VP: What is your opinion about the impact of online retailing on the optical trade community?

VM: Four optical retail chains launched online retailing with mixed success. This includes Lawrence & Mayo, GKB, Lenskart, Titan Eye +. Yes volumes are now being spread across many players. But, there is a positive side to the growth of online retail as well. For starters, people who do not have access to eye care in 450 smaller towns,cities of India and 6,18,000 villages have been placing orders with certain online players.

However, the first pair free is a gimmick used by some players, the quality of the frame is far from what is desired by clients and consumers at large.

VP: Now that you are aware about the ZEISS ‘YOU&EYE’ AWARDS, which category, according to you is likely to see maximum number of entries and why?

VM: All the categories are well thought of. Personally, I would like to see Spectacle Frames & Sunglasses designed & Made in India – creating Indian Brands that will go GLOBAL.

corrected-vp-india-2016-jul-aug-page-016-017-020-021-024-eye-on-innovation-zeiss-you&eye-awards-Indian-eyewear-retailers-take-center-stage-2VP: According to you, what is the impact that the ZEISS ‘YOU&EYE’ AWARDS will have on the Indian optical trade?

VM: Cannes, Oscars, Ms. World, Femina Miss India are all iconic AWARDS, the optical trade is about style, panache, glamour, technicalities and clinical aspects too – It Definitely deserves the ZEISS ‘YOU&EYE’ AWARDS!!!

VP: What is the one thing about the Indian optical trade that you would want to see changed in the next five years?

VM: I have often seen RAI (Retailers Association Of India) 16,500 doors Fund & work together, NASSCOM – All Software & Hardware Giants and industry people working together. Advocacy, Lobbying, Training, Exchange of Ideas & Best Practices are some of the outcomes that have helped the trade grow.

We have number of Associations like Bombay Optical Association but they collaborate only in times of crisis to protest some Government Levy or Tax, there is no long term plan of any of the Association – A Five Year Plan. A Plan to develop Optometrist, Optical Dispensers, Fitters, Repairers, Training Centres, Design & Manufacture our own Frames.

We have NID – National Institute of Design, NIFT – National Institute of Fashion Technology, we need to work with these bodies closely. Our backlog in Optometrist is huge, we currently have 45,000 Optometrist and require 1,50,000 Optometrist. Current ratio is 1 :23,000 People of India, desired ratio is 1:10,000 people. Working together can help improve this.

VP: Any message for our readers with regards to the ZEISS ‘YOU&EYE’ AWARDS…

VM: I wish the AWARDS the Very Best, we must Add Optometrist of the Year from each Region, we can work with ASCO – Association of Schools & Colleges Of Optometry for the same.

Prema Chande, Principal, Lotus College Of Optometry, Talks about ZEISS ‘YOU&EYE’ AWARDS

VisionPlus (VP): In the last decade, what according to you is the growth that the Indian optical trade has witnessed?

Prema Chande (PC): I believe the Indian optical trade has experienced a growth of 30-35 percent. While there are some old names that have faded away, but overall growth is positive. The competition in the industry is only going to help it grow better. _MG_1987-as-Smart-Object-1Additionally, even the consumer stands to gain in this growth because he or she has more choices. And this brings a big behaviour change across sectors.

VP: What is your opinion about the impact of online retailing on the optical trade community?

PC: I believe online is the next big thing. But, I would urge the optical trade community to not look at online retailing as a threat. Instead, consider it to be a competition and use it to evolve as well as improve your services. I believe that the trade will continue to grow.

VP: Now that you are aware about the ZEISS ‘YOU&EYE’ AWARDS, which category, according to you is likely to see maximum number of entries and why?

PC: My favourite category is the Clinical Expertise section. It would be interesting to see the entries that come in this category.

VP: According to you, what is the impact that the ZEISS ‘YOU&EYE’ AWARDS will have on the Indian optical trade?

PC: I believe that the ZEISS ‘YOU&EYE’ AWARDS will work like a benchmarking exercise for the industry. The idea of celebrating the excellence in Indian eyewear retail will motivate the opticians to do better. I also think that for the new entrants the ZEISS ‘YOU&EYE’ AWARDS will work like a learning exercise. All in all, the awards will have a positive impact on the trade.

VP: What is the one thing about the Indian optical trade that you would want to see changed in the next five years?

PC: The one thing that I would like to see changing in the next five years is the quality of eye care services. In terms of eyewear, we are at par with the world. However, we are lagging behind in case of diagnostic services. If we improve that, we can raise the quality of service considerably.

VP: Any message for our readers with regards to the ZEISS ‘YOU&EYE’ AWARDS…

PC: All I would say is that they should come forth and participate in big numbers!!!