brillen - Supporting the local independent optician

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Consumer shopping trends have significantly changed over the recent years and certainly over the last six months with the current Covid-19 pandemic. The retail sector has experienced a huge surge in online purchasing as result and we have also seen many high street shops struggle to financially survive during this period. The modern-day consumers have now all become accustomed to purchasing most of their items through an online channel due to the price price advantage and convenience this mode of shopping offers. Due to the economic downturn consumers still seek high quality products but at a value driven price along with professional expertise especially when it comes to purchasing optical products. Customer surveys have revealed that purchasing suitable high-quality glasses through traditional means is perceived to be an expensive purchase in most cases until now. We want to break away from this myth and introduce a new concept to the optical sector. Our goal is to offer the customer quality glasses at an affordable price and always with an extraordinary customer service.

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The founder of SuperVista AG started his career as an optician and opened his first independent practice in Bayreauth, Germany in 1997. He is the son of an Ophthalmologist and together they formed a strong family reputation in the state of Bavaria for providing outstanding clinical services and high-quality products to their customers. This helped build up patient loyalty to their practices over the years. During 2010, they noticed the optical marketing had began to change which the introduction of more multiple chain opticians and online retailers coming into the market. These had the advantage of being able to produce strong marketing campaigns and retail lower priced products due to their collective size which a typical independent practice would not have the financial resource or capabilities to offer. This is when SuperVista AG was formed with a few entrepreneurial partners who also had experience of digital marketing expertise. They collectively decided to break down the barriers between the traditional patient journey of purchasing glasses through a high street shop or directly online but still off er the benefits of both routes to find a novel approach. They created an innovative structure transferring the entire production process to the industrial sector, to focus the activity of the opticians on its central function, which is professional advice and delivering a unique customer centric experience. They knew in return long-term this would also build up practice loyalty as the customer would always want to return to a practice which delivers outstanding value for the product combined with the service element as a package.

We value the great work independent opticians deliver and wanted to make sure this still remains at the core of our business model. By implementing sophisticated digital marketing strategies through various channels, we are able to produce high impact campaigns which attract thousands of new customers to our website every day. As we appreciate the value of glasses being dispensed professionally in practice, the customer then books an appointment with one of the partner independent opticians local to them to receive an up to date eye test and professional dispense in practice. Due to our innovative production and logistics processes we are able to keep all our operational costs in producing a pair pf spectacles low and then pass on this saving onto our customers which means they can still benefit from high quality designs at lower prices paired with professional expertise. This has resulted in many happy customers and independent opticians who have also benefited from the model to help grow their business and earned an average of £10k/month additional revenue by partnering with us with no costs.

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About a year ago we had taken a step out of our main business to attend a course on business and marketing which really helped opened up our eyes on how we could remodel and implement some new ideas to help promote and boost our sales. This was really valuable and helped increase our turnover significantly in a short space of time. We had then also came across brillen through a recommendation by a friend who had partnered with them. The concept really appealed to us as it offered all the benefits of marketing our practice which we came across during our course but were looking for ways we could

What made you consider brillen as a partner?

implement these without any additional costs. We were conscious that our existing patient base was naturally aging and we needed to seek ways of marketing the practice to increase new footfall to the practices. Having learned about the benefi ts of eff ectively marketing any business from our course we instantly saw the key benefit of the brillen concept. We liked the idea of having all the benefits of being part of a franchise type model but wanted to still remain independent and fully own the business. This option would provide us the marketing expertise we required with no investment or expenses.

How has the model helped your business?

We were really surprised by how effective digital marketing is in attracting new customers to our practice. brillen have really powerful digital marketing campaigns across many channels which has helped more people come across our practice who would not have considered us otherwise. This has not only helped us fi ll our clinics with more eye tests and dispenses but we have also been able to promote other services we offer within the practice such as our enhanced eye tests, dry eye clinics, contact lenses and diabetic screening services. The model has particularly supported our second practice in Datchet which we opened from scratch about 2 years ago. We have tried some local offline marketing to help promote the practice but this had limited returns. This practice is located in a small village and we really struggled getting new patients to build up our database. As a result we only used to open the practice 1.5 days a week due to the low volume and limited team resource we were able to allocate to this practice.

As soon as we partnered with brillen the clinics were full of new customers coming from as far as an hour and half away to receive the fantastic offers. This helped our practice become recognised in the village again and we opened up more days to accommodate all the extra footfall.

What’s next?

Having experienced the first hand benefits of partnering with a company who has an established brand which can deliver on the results we have decided to take our partnership with brillen to the next level. brillen have now acquired our Datchet practice and our practice team are still also employed in the practice. The practice is now open throughout the week and has been really busy. Dipesh and Neesh believe the different levels of partnership off er great flexibility to join the model in different ways depending on your situation and career aspirations. It is also ideal for anyone who is considering opening their own business but would like the benefits of a partner such as brillen to help support them. The Datchet practice is now also being redesigned to align with the look and feel of the new concept which includes some innovative technology too. This will also help future proof the business and help it evolve into offering our customers convenience, value and high quality products with a great professional service.

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