Lenskart was early to India's D2C scene. Many don't know that they arrived a good 10 years before there was a spotlight on homegrown brands. At Brands Decoded, we sat down with Amit Chaudhary, Co-founder Lenskart to deep dive into their growth journey and what it takes to make it in the consumer brands space.
At first, the US market was Lenskart’s playground and while working with their team Amit uncovered a key insight that would serve him well in the Indian space. But despite healthy growth in the US why move to India?
Firstly, there was a huge underserved Indian optics market - they had to tackle the lack of access head-on. Secondly, the team wanted a direct link to consumers and they were looking to create an impactful business model. Lastly, here's the game-changer: Amit understood that Lenskart needed to command the full-stack: Product, People & Process in order to achieve the above.
Lenskart aimed to create an end to end omnichannel brand for the everyday Indian consumer. Once they had a pulse on the market, there was a clear need for innovation and design. To be innovative Lenskart had to be independent and that’s where manufacturing gave them the edge. But for Amit, this also meant letting go of other products he was keen on selling and finding his focus in eyewear.
“As founders, we realised that while doing watches, bags, jewelry - we weren’t solving a problem in these markets. There was a lot of talk around doing multiple categories to increase market size but we listened to our heart. [With eyewear] we are solving a problem and it's impacting our consumers in a positive way, we are happier focusing on one at the end of the day.”
For the next few years, Lenskart went on a large-scale mission. The only objective was to get India to try their products. They were doing 2000+ home-eye checkups and try-ons daily. The team ran campaigns promoting eyewear as a lifestyle product and even went offline in the areas that showed online sales to boost brand visibility! Amit believed in his product and said “If you're not able to make consumers try, how will they buy?”
Offline conversion in these areas soared from 4% to 30%, shaping Lenskart’s 6/6 growth vision towards India’s biggest eyewear retailer. Now they have 700+ stores creating a strong brand presence all over India.
Amit is someone who has his ear to the ground when it comes to his work, his insights into how his consumer thinks set him apart. ”Every human is a billing counter!” he said when asked about the future. The Indian eyewear space has huge untapped potential and the only way forward is to build an ecosystem with first-class consumer service right to the district level.
His advice to young D2C founders? It's a tough and long journey in this space. In the beginning, people will invest in you and your team. Have faith in your team and collaborate to build something with your idea. Create an impact.
Watch this Brands Decoded session and learn more about Lenskart and the Indian D2C revolution.
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