What made Lenskart a Brilliant Startup in 2010

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Lenskart

Introduction

Lenskart is an Indian eyewear online portal founded by Peyush Bansal in November 2010 in Delhi. Co-founders Amit Chaudhary and Sumeet Kapahi joined Peyush at a later date. They started with an online portal for their products and then successfully moved on to offline sale by establishing contacts with eye lens and frames stores in various cities.

Peyush Bansal: Founder of Lenskart
Peyush Bansal: Founder of Lenskart
Lenskart core team
Lenskart core team

The company’s portfolio of products ranges from prescription glasses, contact lenses to sunglasses.

Lenskart is India’s fastest growing eyewear business today. With a rapidly growing business reaching out to over 1,00,000 customers a month via a unique combination of a strong online business as www.lenskart.com, uniquely designed physical stores, as well as a first of its kind ‘home eye check up’ service, Lenskart has reformed the eyewear industry in India.

Now, Lenskart is a company of net worth Rs. 600 crore, with 900+ employees and large number of stores in different cities. By January 2015, they had successfully raised Rs. 135 crore in capital. The eyewear e-commerce business of Lenskart would not have reached this far if they would not have understood the power of Social Media Marketing. Much of their credit to reach their current reputation in E-commerce business world, goes to the Social Media Campaigns.

History of Lenskart

Peyush, is the founder & CEO of the company Valyoo Technologies, which is the parent company of LensKart. He pursued his Bachelor’s in Electrical Engineering—IT, Control & Automation from McGill University, Canada in 2006. Before he returned to India to pursue his PG in Management from IIM Bangalore, Peyush worked as a Program Manager with Microsoft for a year.

During his IIM days, he launched his company, Valyoo Technologies with SearchMyCampus as the first business portal in 2007. It was a classified site for students that went beyond accommodation to books, part-time jobs, carpool facilities, and internship opportunities. His motto was to solve any and every issue that a student might have.

SearchMyCampus was a big hit, but Peyush wanted to explore it in the e-commerce world. While exploring opportunities, he came across the eyewear segment which was even ignored by the big boys of e-commerce, viz., Amazon and eBay. He launched Flyrr.com which was focused on the eyewear market in the US.

Flyrr was gaining good traction and this prompted him to test the waters in the Indian markets and launched Lenskart in November 2010. They started with just selling contact lenses and added eyeglasses a few months later. Finally, in March 2011 they added sunglasses to their portfolio and placed themselves in the fashion accessory segment.

Initial Challenges

The biggest challenge that Lenskart faced was to persuade the customers to rely on online store as an alternative way of purchasing. The company needed to change the pre-set traditional mindset of people and instill confidence in them that they sell quality eyewear products at prices better than their brick-and-mortar counterparts.

Marketing Strategy

Marketing Strategy of Lenskart
Marketing Strategy of Lenskart

The main objective of Lenskart’s marketing strategy was to change people’s mindset and get them to accept online store as an alternative way of purchasing and in order to do that, Lenskart increased customer engagement and gained their trust and confidence.

Lenkart first targeted those people who had subscribed with lenskart.com but had not transacted. These subscribers had shown interest in the product but lacked trust in the brand to step forward to purchase.

Establishing Communication

Lenskart adopted an innovative approach to take customers in conversation with Lenskart via emails throughout the buying cycle. Unlike the traditional way of communication where customers were just informed about the status of their order, the company adopted the base of the full duplex model where customers were able to share views, express their thoughts in the process and be virtually engaged.

By giving importance to customer experiences and engaging in open communication, the brand became more human and built trust.

Lenskart hosted number of campaigns with exciting offers and reached out the campaigns to the right customers. They used their Facebook platform in order to create campaign hosting a Game, with the Lenskart revamp hashtag. This led to 1.6m hits in their fan page in Facebook.

On twitter, they had got an amazing response from the people with a 6000+ tweets using their hashtag Lenskart revamp. This led to dramatic increase in the sales of their eye frames and lenses.

It was not just the campaigns in social media platform that created the buzz, they have even successfully used email marketing campaign, which was good enough to get Lenskart included in “Create and design E-commerce” category of Marketing Sherpa Email Awards 2014 as “Honourable Mention”.

Business model

Lenskart’s business model proved to be extremely successful. As an startup, the way they modeled their business is definitely an inspiration for upcoming startups.

Their business model has the following qualities:

  • It offers 5000 frames & glasses with in excess of 45 sorts of top-notch focal points at a reasonable cost.
  • It gives free home delivery with 14 days replacement guarantee.
  • They focused on the innovation-based market and followed the inventory-led business model in which their design and stylist team consistently keeps update on the cutting edge innovation and the most recent trends in eyewear. Their outlines test is then conveyed to the manufactures for the completed items. They manage the expense of creation by owning the entire supply chain.
  • Lenskart opened their offline stores, and with this, they set their foot into the offline market just by occupying and inaugurating stores which creates a strong relation and connection with the customers. Till September 2019, Lenskart has in excess of 500 stores in 70 urban communities in India.

Unique Selling Proposition (USP)

  • Quality of product
  • Availability of product
  • Delivery time and smooth sale services
  • Low purchasing cost
  • Catchy slogan: Log on, play on

Despite the strong competitors of Lenskart like Warby Parker, Classic Specs, Eye Rim, and Waldo, Lenskart however managed and established its presence in the rushing market and emerged as the most successful e-commerce business startup. The following points are the game changer and crucial point behind the success story of Lenskart.

  • Lenskart is the only first Indian brand to use robotic technology. The touch and feel concept comes into play here. It brought a technology revolution in eyewear with services like 3-D Try on
  • First frame free offer: Customers only pay for their lens on first purchase
  • Try Before You Buy:  Customers can choose a maximum of 5 frames and test them at home before making the final payment
  • The eye checkups at home across cities by optometrists have been introduced. They have been doing more than 1500+ check-ups a day, a conversion of approx 50%
  • Refer and win: Customers are getting a discount by the referral code-shared by them
  • Exchange Program offer
  • New Lens in old frame
  • Gold membership

Products and Services

  • Eyeglasses
  • Premium eyeglasses
  • Sunglasses
  • Computer eyeglasses
  • Frames: Rectangle, Wayfarer, Oval, Round, Cat Eye, Aviator, Rimless etc..
  • For: Male, female, kids
  • Brands: Vincent Chase, Ray-Ban, Johnson & Johnson, Alcon, Vogue etc.
  • Color Contact Lenses

Valuation and Financial Status

In March 2018 Wipro Chairman Azim Premji invested 400cr in the group taking the valuation of the company to 3000 Crore.

The company had a valuation of $1.5 billion by Dec 2019 after Softbank invested around $275 million. Financial backers of Lenskart include TPG Growth, International Finance Corp, and Adveq Management. Ratan Tata (of Tata Sons) and S. Gopalakrishnan (of Infosys).

Sachin Vishwakarma

Sachin Vishwakarma

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