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How Lenskart is Tapping Tier 2 & 3 Markets Eyewear retailer Lenskart has devised low-cost franchise model to tap the upcountry markets as it targets 50 per cent of its new stores beyond tier 1 cities.

By Amit Singh

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Founded in 2010 by Peyush Bansal, Amit Chaudhary and Sumeet Kapahi, Lenskart is a forerunner in the eyewear space in India as it strives to become the Maruti Suzuki of the Indian eyewear industry over the next 10 years. The company is trying to forge ahead with innovative services like "3D Try On' as well as home eye check up. Lenskart comes with a tech edge and is India's first brand to use robotic technique that delivers micro-precision glasses which are accurate to three decimal places.

At present, the company operates more than 550 stores across the country and has aggressive plans to penetrate underserved upcountry markets with low-priced glasses and specially devised franchise model. Excerpts from an interaction with Amit Chaudhary, Co-Founder, Lenskart:

How do you plan to tap the upcountry markets?

Lenskart was established with the vision to give "vision to India.' In line with this, we have recently devised a low-cost franchise model, Lenskart Lite, to cater to the upcountry markets, specifically tier-3 and 4 markets. Targeted at micro-entrepreneurs, the model calls for an investment of Rs 20 lakh. The format generates monthly revenues of Rs 4-6 lakh. For the tier-2 markets, we already have regular Lenskart franchise model with investment requirement of Rs 35 lakh and expected monthly revenues of Rs 8-10 lakh.

We offer 25-30 per cent margin across our franchise models, quick breakeven within two years and zero stock risk. We expect 50 per cent of our new stores to come up in tier 2 and 3 cities with Lenskart Lite being our focus.

What are your plans for the contact lens business?

We are coming up with Aqualens, which is in response to an overpriced and complicated contact lens market. Aqualens is disrupting the contact lens market by launching hassle-free daily disposable contact lenses at a monthly subscription of Rs 1199 for 60 lenses. At just Rs 40 per day, it gives the consumer an opportunity to be fashionable and pursue an active life with a hassle-free experience. Consumers can experience our contact lenses through over 1500 optometrists in 550+ Lenskart stores or can avail Lenskart HTO (Home- Try On) services.

How do you leverage technology to strengthen your franchise ecosystem?

Technology is at the forefront of everything we do; we are a company born in the cloud. For us, technology is crucial right from sourcing of the franchise to building the store as well as delivering a consistent consumer experience across our stores.

We provide a unique offering 3D Try On that allows customers to try eyewear virtually on their face and the inbuilt technology recommends frames as per their facial analysis. We are making all our stores augmented reality-enabled soon.

Technology also plays a key role in logistics which is crucial for franchise stores in remote locations. Further, it helps us to gain knowledge from the performing partners and disseminate across the franchise ecosystem.

What are your top priorities over the next 2-5 years?

Over 550 million people in the country need reading glasses but only 170 million wear them. Lenskart's aim is to help bridge this gap in the coming years by providing high quality eyewear to millions of Indians at affordable prices.

We plan to open 500 more stores in the next two years and take the total store count to 2000 stores within the next 5 years.

Amit Singh

Assistant Editor (Franchise)

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