Online eyewear major Lenskart has set on the path of a major expansion spree in Tier I & II cities across India. The brand is targeting to take its total brick-and-mortar store count to 900 over the next two years.
In an interview with Indiaretailing Bureau at the sidelines of IRF 2017, Co-founder and COO, Lenskart.com, Amit Chaudhary said, “Currently we are looking at Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Chennai to open new outlets.”
“We have recently opened outlets in Lucknow, Chandigarh, Dehradun, Kanpur, Surat, Ahmedabad, Baroda, Pune, Coimbatore and Coachin and we are already looking at a very healthy growth rate in these cities over the next one year. After covering these cities, we are all set to explore virgin markets in the Northeast, Goa, Punjab and Haryana,” he added.
The Growth Story
Currently, Lenskart stores – in over 80 cities in India – are based on the franchise model.
When asked about investment for the expansion, Chaudhary said that his company will be investing capital primarily around building back-end supply chain, while franchises would invest in opening stores.
“We have raised over Rs 700 crore in the last six to seven years and most of the money is still unused. Apart from this, all our stores are profitable. We are not looking to raise any money to aid these expansion plans,” said Chaudhary.
The brand, which has average ticket size of Rs 3,000, is looking to clock a whopping Rs 600 crore revenue this fiscal.
Lenskart has grown more than 200 per cent year-on-year. It has been funded by venture capitalists like IDG Ventures, Ronnie Screwvala-led Unilazer Ventures, IFC, Premji Invest, TPG Growth and TR Capital.
According to Chaudhary, Lenskart, which earns 65 per cent of its revenue from its offline stores, 30 per cent from e-commerce and 5 per cent from its home catering business, is investing Rs 50-60 crore every year on technology development.
“We were born in technology. We started our existence with databases, so it is very difficult for us to think non-technologically. In keeping with this, we have been implementing smart ideas to improve our in-store experience. For example, at every Lenskart store customers can choose frames and pay their bills on iPad. We are trying to give them the same experience that they get online,” he said.
Apart from this, Lenskart, which is currently selling 300,000 spectacles in a month – roughly 10,000 spectacles a day – has also launched an app called ‘Lenskart Lite’, which is smaller in size in comparison to its existing application. This (new app) is targeted at users in Tier III & IV towns, who often face network connectivity issues.
Users need Internet just to download the app (size under 1MB) and then the backend SMS technology allows them to place orders.
Since it is a lighter app, Lenskart Lite aims to help customers who are using affordable smartphones that often do not have a lot of memory space.
Ditto – 3D Virtual Try-On Technology
Lenskart has recently invested US $1 million in Ditto to pick up a minority stake in the US-based start-up. The company already uses Ditto’s 3D try-on services on its website and app.
Further integration will help Lenskart enhance its online engagement with consumers, wherein users can share different pictures of themselves trying various eye glasses on social media.
“Ditto provides us with the patented 3D virtual try-on technology… So far, the response to this service is commendable with over 10,000 trials everyday. We have been evaluating our relationship and now want to take it to the next level,” Founder and CEO, Lenskart.com, Peyush Bansal stated.
Recently, the brand has roped in Bollywood actor Katrina Kaif as its brand ambassador. She will be the face of Lenskart for the next two years and also features in the brand’s new campaign.
Commenting on the new campaign, Bansal said that Lenskart is all about fun, fashion, playfulness and friendliness, and that Katrina fit all these bills perfectly.
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“Katrina, we feel, is all of this naturally, hence a perfect fit. We were looking for someone who naturally fits the Lenskart brand proposition of ‘Addictive Playfulness’ and she does. Her song ‘Kala Chashma‘ was such a phenomenal success and we think she will be really successful with the actual chashma (spectacles) as well,” Bansal stated.
IPO On The Cards?
Media baron and private equity investor Ronnie Screwvala, who holds a stake in Lenskart, said the e-commerce firm may go in for an Initial Public Offering (IPO) in the next two years. Screwvala also said Lenskart may get into operational profits from this month onward.
“We hope to take Lenskart public…There is no time-table (for an IPO). But I would say in the next two years. I made about Rs 100 crore in Lenskart with my 18 per cent (stake),” Screwvala said.
“As the company grows, we feel that an IPO will create more value for everybody. We are building value with various investments in technology development in the eyewear segment, and from the IPO we will chart out our growth path. We expect to launch it in next three years,” Bansal concluded.