Pro­fes­sional Prow­ess in Eyecare

Shoes & Accessories - - Contents -

To tap the un­tapped po­ten­tial of the lux­ury and de­signer eye­wear mar­ket in In­dia R.k.kataria launched op­ti­cal bou­tique Gem Op­ti­cians in 1969. It started chang­ing the way peo­ple per­ceive their eye­wear, not only as a func­tional tool but as a fash­ion ac­ces­sory. Its di­rec­tor Ishaan Kataria as­serts that its vi­sion is to strive to pro­vide a be­spoke ex­pe­ri­ence com­plete with hand­picked se­lec­tion of eye­wear in an in­ter­view with S&A.

Gem Op­ti­cians

Driven by the zest to delve into the un­tapped po­ten­tial of the lux­ury and de­signer eye­wear mar­ket in In­dia, R.k.kataria con­ceived Gem Op­ti­cians in 1969. With its en­deav­our to pro­vide the lat­est com­bined with the very best in eye­wear, the coun­try’s pre­mium op­ti­cal bou­tique opened new hori­zons to a dis­cern­ing clien­tele in a fairly un­ex­plored mar­ket. Equipped with the most in­no­va­tive tech­nol­ogy in re­frac­tion and dis­pens­ing of spec­ta­cles, our bou­tiques house qual­i­fied con­sul­tants im­part­ing metic­u­lous at­ten­tion to de­tails. Gem, with its pro­fes­sional prow­ess in eyecare, started chang­ing the way peo­ple per­ceive their eye­wear, not only as a func­tional tool but as a fash­ion ac­ces­sory. True to its tagline, GEM Op­ti­cians soon be­came pop­u­lar as ‘Peo­ple of Vi­sion.’

Busi­ness Phi­los­o­phy

Our vi­sion is to strive to pro­vide a be­spoke ex­pe­ri­ence com­plete with our hand­picked se­lec­tion of eye­wear. We’re con­stantly up­grad­ing and in­no­vat­ing to keep up with global trends; we con­tinue to aspire to ex­ceed the ex­pec­ta­tions of our es­teemed pa­trons.

Unique­ness about Gem

We pro­vide gamut of the best and au­then­tic brands all un­der one roof. Our staff mem­bers are well trained to of­fer their ex­per­tise and help peo­ple strike a bal­ance be­tween com­fort level, func­tion­al­ity and aes­thet­ics when it comes to pur­chas­ing eye­wear. We like to believe it is our in­tegrity and our ad­her­ence to com­mit­ments em­bed­ded in our val­ues that sep­a­rate us from the com­pe­ti­tion.

In­dian Eye­wear Lux­ury mar­ket

The lux­ury eye­wear mar­ket is frag­mented be­tween the or­gan­ised and the un­or­gan­ised sec­tor. In­dian lux­ury eye­wear is still in in­fant stage as any other lux­ury prod­uct. It is re­ally the su­per thin top layer of the In­dian con­sumer that buys lux­ury eye­wear. The sun­glasses mar­ket is seg­mented by price where the high-end and lux­ury sun­glasses ac­count for 20 % and 10% re­spec­tively of the mar­ket. Store-based ex­am­ples of lux­ury eye­wear play­ers have helped drive growth.

Chal­lenges

The surge of fake prod­ucts is the big­gest chal­lenge as they are eas­ily avail­able at heav­ily dis­counted prices. There are these A+ qual­ity fakes which are re­ally dif­fi­cult to dis­tin­guish from the gen­uine ones for a lay man. This has led to the cre­ation of a par­al­lel mar­ket. It is chal­leng­ing to keep up with change in trends and they change quickly- so one can get stuck with dead stock.

High sales Den­sity Fac­tors

High dis­pos­able in­come would en­cour­age masses to in­crease con­sump­tion. It causes a surge in dis­cre­tionary spend­ing which could boost sales. In­dia is a mas­sive coun­try, and the em­pha­sis on bet­ter health and bet­ter qual­ity of life has helped im­prove pre­scrip­tion sales. Mar­ket­ing is ob­vi­ously a big in­flu­encer, celebrity en­dors­ing and so­cial me­dia in­flu­ence is a con­tribut­ing fac­tor to high sales den­sity in In­dia.

Shades mar­ket in In­dia

Dif­fer­ent re­gions in In­dia have dif­fer­ent in­cli­na­tions and per­cep­tion for brands and trends. To­day peo­ple love to ac­ces­sorize with shades for fash­ion, per­son­al­ity and health pur­poses. South In­dia is less en­ticed by brands and trends; they pre­fer func­tion­al­ity and qual­ity. North In­dia prefers ex­plor­ing and ex­per­i­ment­ing with lat­est niche brands and trends. North-east In­dia is on the look-out for trendy pieces as op­posed to Western In­dia which is a ho­mo­ge­neous mix of all the above. Also with health be­ing a pri­or­ity, peo­ple have started look­ing health as an in­vest­ment and hence are ready to spend on pre­scrip­tion wear.

Main driv­ers that will her­ald a boom

For the sun­glasses and ac­ces­sories in­dus­try to grow, re­lax­ation of gov­ern­ment poli­cies could play a piv­otal role. The taxes have gone up from 12.5% to 28 % mak­ing the prod­uct even more ex­pen­sive for the con­sumer. A de­crease in this per­cent­age could def­i­nitely help win more con­sumers.

Also, as lux­ury eye­wear be­comes more eas­ily avail­able and wider in terms of choice, the num­ber of peo­ple pur­chas­ing it would be likely to in­crease too. Lastly, as the dis­pos­able in­come and ex­po­sure of the con­sumer in­creases their affin­ity to in­vest in the sun­glass and ac­ces­sories in­dus­try would also in­crease.

Pro­file of your typ­i­cal con­sumer

A typ­i­cal lux­ury eye­wear con­sumer is one who val­ues qual­ity and func­tion­al­ity while strik­ing a bal­ance with what is suit­able for their per­son­al­ity. They have a higher dis­pos­able in­come and def­i­nitely value the brand it­self that they are in­vest­ing in.

Re­tail strat­egy

As the In­dian cus­tomer looks for more con­ve­nience and ease of ac­cess, the re­tail strat­egy would be to ex­pand through more branches in a slow and steady fash­ion to reach out to more cus­tomers. Home-de­liv­ery and ship­ping from the stores has be­come an in­te­gral part of cus­tomer ser­vice and will con­tinue to play an im­por­tant role in our growth strat­egy.

In­ter­na­tional brands and stiff com­pe­ti­tion

In­ter­na­tional brands don’t face stiff com­pe­ti­tion from local brands as the con­sumer for both the sec­tors is dif­fer­ent. A cus­tomer who is look­ing to pur­chase an in­ter­na­tional brand is look­ing to in­vest in the ‘brand’ it­self and is not likely to buy a more price-ef­fec­tive ver­sion of a sim­i­lar look­ing piece.

Trend­ing de­signs and shapes

There are var­i­ous shapes and de­signs that are trend­ing in the sun­glasses. Peo­ple don’t shy away from ex­per­i­ment­ing and are not afraid to make a style state­ment them­selves. The sun­glasses with unique shapes are trend­ing and are will­ing to move past the tra­di­tional avi­a­tors and way­far­ers. The over­sized glasses trend is a mix­ture of cat-eyed and round glasses; they are def­i­nitely a head turner. Sleek retro/vin­tage laid back glasses have a sub­tlety to it and are a favourite. Light weight sun­glasses make sense if you‘re to wear them at all times. Light coloured tints are re­ally stylish and trend­ing.

Im­por­tance of Dig­i­tal strat­egy

Dig­i­tal me­dia is the need of the hour and is what is re­quired of ev­ery brand to­day. We want to use dig­i­tal me­dia to lever­age our po­si­tion as trend­set­ters and to es­tab­lish closer con­nec­tions with our cus­tomers. So it is def­i­nitely as in­te­gral as any other cog in our com­pany to im­prove brand pres­ence and es­tab­lish our brand val­ues.

On­line Re­tail strat­egy

The In­dian con­sumer is still con­ser­va­tive to pur­chase lux­ury eye­wear from a web­site with­out tri­als at the mo­ment – they would want to try the prod­uct and see how it looks on wear. So maybe cou­ple of years down the line we could look at hav­ing e-cat­a­logues and real-time trend up­dates through our web­site through which we could gen­er­ate cus­tomer in­ter­est and en­quiries and slowly as the con­sumer be­comes more ma­ture move into a full-fledged e-com­merce model.

Most ex­cit­ing thing at Gem Op­ti­cians

We are the ex­clu­sive stock­ist of pop­u­lar lux­ury brands like Dior and Chanel. We house and in­tro­duce the cus­tomer to unique niche hand-crafted brands; the likes of Frency & Mer­cury and Lind­berg. We are able to have our brands sourced to celebrities through P.R. Also, our new­found so­cial me­dia pres­ence should open new av­enues which are very ex­cit­ing.

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