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    Carving a hybrid niche!

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    .com, a hybrid e-commerce portal offering 360-degree care for our precious eyes, sells all products related to eyes and vision. Their product line includes spectacles, sunglasses, powered sunglasses, powered swimming goggles, reading glasses, industrial eyewear and contact lenses with solution. With such a vast range of products in their portfolio, the company has now decided to take the Indian e-tailing industry by storm! will be creating an opportunity for clients to obtain the benefits of online shopping and the reliability of an offline store in eyewear industry.

    Business model

    According to Devansh Binani, CEO, Deals4Opticals.com: “As per our estimate, the eyewear industry today stands approximately at Rs. 20,000 crore, out of which Rs. 1,600 crore constitutes the organised sector and the remaining Rs. 18,400 crore market belongs to the unorganised sector. According to the current trends noticed in the online segment, 50 per cent of the orders are coming from the semi-urban areas due to a sudden rise of internet penetration in these sectors. Consumers are able to procure products which were earlier inaccessible to them. The market potential seems to be immense and is waiting to be consolidated in the right manner. The business of online retail in India is currently pegged at around Rs. 21,700 crore – a figure expected to grow over fourfold to touch Rs. 88,000 crore.”

    He further states: “We believe Deals4Opticals.com can be the game-changer in the current market scenario. We intend to capture 15 per cent of the online optical market within a year and further develop our website to increase this share in the next 5 years.”

    Rationale behind setting up a hybrid model

    According to the company, the hybrid model is the future of optical business. After some extensive research, they have come to conclude that consumers shopping online are not only looking for competitive prices but a complete and competitive deal. Consumers specifically looking for optical products online quite often distrust the quality and precision of the products sold online. Although they love the convenience of shopping online, they are somehow sceptical about the final product that will be delivered to them, as eyewear is always customised to suit the client’s specific needs. They further refrain from ordering online due to issues related to lack of after-sales service, fitting and adjustment of the eyewear as per the consumer’s facial contours.

    This is where Deals4Opticals comes in handy with a hybrid business model, where the brand has tied up with renowned offline optical retailer, , as well as minor partner – Optical Experts – giving the customers access to offline stores in more than 50 locations spread across 20+ cities in India, so as to solve these industry prevalent problems.

    During the test run, Deals4Opticals received approximately 8,000 hits on its website, mostly from the south of India (Bengaluru) and Mumbai, region, which is considered to be a hub for e-commerce and a matured online market. Other cities where the company received good response from include Pune, Delhi, Hyderabad, Chennai, Kolkata, Ghaziabad, Faridabad, Raipur, etc. The hits are mainly from the age group between 18 and 35 years. The site has currently tied up with , DTDC and Overnite Express as its logistic partners looking to add more in the future. Deals4Opticals has Pay U and payment gateways for making fast and secured transactions online.

    Store try-on

    Though customers today prefer the online medium for purchases, there are some who still want a touch-and-feel factor along with online facility. Keeping their requirements in mind, Deals4Opticals has come up with the facility of providing suggestions to customers at the store level. Deals4Opticals fixes appointments with trained professionals at the store to improve the quality of suggestions provided to their customers. The store try-on process continues as: (i) selecting four frames from the website; (ii) trying them out at the selected store; and (iii) purchasing the chosen frame with prescribed lenses.

    Services provided

    Deals4Opticals.com intends to change the game by offering several decision-making options for buyers. Due to this hybrid model, Deals4opticals.com can boast of its ability to provide a complete eye care solution, which has also helped them develop the following apps:

    ‘Lens Suggester’ app

    Customers can key in or upload their prescriptions onto the site, and depending upon the selected frame and prescribed power, the unique ‘Lens Suggester’ app recommends the most appropriate lenses. The app has been designed in consultation with India’s leading optometrists, bridging the knowledge of an in-store consultation and the pleasure and ease of shopping from the comfort of one’s home.

    ‘Know Your Face’ app

    Depending upon the face shape and one’s personal style, this app helps one to find the right kind of eyewear. Each customer can personalise the order for the eyewear – in case they do not find something they were looking for, Deals4Opticals tries to match the buyer’s request at highly competitive prices.

    ‘Try On’ app

    Buying eyewear can be a tricky decision. Deals4Opticals.com’s ‘Try On’ app helps customers in deciding their look with a vast array of designs, shapes and colours of eyewear. All one has to is upload their picture onto the site app, and the app superimposes the selected eyewear onto the picture, effectively simulating a ‘try on’.

    ‘Power Switch’ app (to be launched soon)

    The switching of lens power can be easily done with the help of the company’s new app – Power Switch. A customer can enter their spectacle power as per their prescription and get the new power for contact lens right away, which can help them purchase the contact lens instantly at the company’s online site.

    Target customers

    Deals4Opticals.com acts as a one-stop shop for all – catering to all sections of the population. There is something for the young swimmer, the teen hip hop dancer and the suave CEO.

    Future aspect

    Going by the market demand, Deals4Opticals might look at opening service or fulfilment centres. Currently, the focus is to stabilise the website and move with the industry standards.