Eyecare industry is expected to see a good recovery in 2021: DG Sunil
Shrugging off the disruptions of the year gone by, businesses and agencies are looking for a strong revival in 2021. Over the next few weeks, Adgully – as part of our annual TRENDING NOW endeavour – will be presenting the strategies and views of a cross-section of industry leaders as they go about reclaiming lost time and market opportunities and build for a stronger future, armed with the lessons of 2020.
DG Sunil, Head of Marketing, Carl Zeiss Vision India, analyses how the eyecare industry has fared during the COVID-19 times, adapting to new ways of serving the consumers in the new normal, increased demand for contactless consultation and more.
Outlook for 2021
The eyecare industry is expected to see a good recovery in 2021. Post pandemic, we have seen a surge in the screen time of individuals, and with it awareness amongst the consumers to protect their eyes from the harmful blue light.
In the lockdown phase, the optical stores across the country were by and large closed and, therefore, the industry faced a significant impact, but now the optical stores are adapting to new ways of serving the consumers in the new normal.
Since the eyecare industry mostly falls in the essential product category, in the post pandemic world it would be imperative for businesses to establish and maintain the digital connect. With people being more conscious about health & safety, contactless consultation has gained interest. The optical stores are increasingly moving towards having a strong presence online with online appointment scheduling tools, home eye screening and phygital modes.
Keeping in mind these evolving trends of the industry, Zeiss India is also committed to providing consumers with better product offerings. We are constantly innovating products to provide relevant value to our consumers. One such product innovation that we would like to highlight is the Zeiss Anti-fog spray.
Today, the market has become more volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous. Although the COVID-19 pandemic continues to transform the growth of various industries, the immediate impact of the outbreak is varied. While a few industries will register a drop in demand, numerous others like the lenses industry will continue to remain unharmed and show promising growth opportunities.
The ophthalmic landscape has changed significantly last year. The pandemic poses many challenges to industry and society, and with respect to the optical business, the relevancy would improve for consumers by dispensing the right/ relevant product portfolio (for example, help consumers identify digital eye strain), moving towards omni-channel, providing a safe shopping environment to the consumer and continue to be invested in building customer relationships with the right/ empathetic messaging.
Also, we foresee an increased demand for contactless consultation, as people continue to maintain social distance, the use of remote refraction devices by optometrists to perform contactless eye examinations – of course, under observance of the much-needed hygiene measures – is on the rise.
In today’s world, an “online branch” is a must, even for a highly successful store. Stronger presence on platforms like “Google My Business” allows them to be more visible when the consumers are making a choice on where to purchase their eyewear from and provides them with information like opening hours, services and products available at the optical store.
Also, adoption of tools like online appointment scheduler allows the consumer to shop from these optical stores at their convenient time and in an environment that is safer.
Key learnings from 2020
A few major learnings that Zeiss India has brought along from 2020 are developing a detailed understanding on changes in consumer behaviour in a post COVID-19 scenario, managing customer levels, especially during the early part of the unlock phase when supply chain was impacted, partnering with our customers in this scenario to help them to restart and recover their business. During the early part of the lockdown phase, we launched ‘Stronger Tomorrow’ initiatives to ensure business readiness for the unlock phase. This included sharing consumer insights with our customers, products and technologies that are more relevant in a post COVID-19 scenario, training our customers on safety and hygiene practices, enabling our customers to effectively communicate with our customers on messages around safety in store and online and continue to work with our customers on strengthening their digital presence.