Four reasons why omnichannel is the business model of the future

Four reasons why omnichannel is the business model of the future

Our hearts beat digitally, but we live omnichannel. Mister Spex started selling glasses online 14 years ago. In 2016, we added the first local store in Berlin. And now we have opened our 50th store in Europe! In the following, we provide an overview of why omnichannel is the logical extension of a digitally-driven strategy for Mister Spex and why the combination of online and offline business is truly sustainable for companies.

By Mirko Caspar, Co-CEO Mister Spex

Since we celebrated the Mister Spex store premiere in Berlin six years ago, much has happened. Numerous openings in German cities followed every year, and with the start of the first stores in Austria and Sweden last April, we heralded the European roll-out of our store network for the first time. Now we have cracked the mark of 50 stores in total! We are really proud of our #teamspex.

Since we are a digitally-driven company, our store network is built on and deeply intertwined with our online offering. And that’s what we believe in: an international omnichannel strategy that combines the best of the online and offline worlds.

Why we think a hybrid approach is the right strategy:

 

  1. The best shopping experience is when our customers have a choice of where and how they shop.

Our customers and their needs are at the heart of everything we do. Today, more than 50% of consumers are stressed and unsure about buying glasses. We are changing that! Because we want people to buy and wear their new glasses in a self-determined way and with confidence! So, for us, it’s all about a better buying experience.

For us as a company, the path to glasses occurs both online and offline. Anyone who wants to choose from more than 10,000 pairs of glasses and sunglasses from over 100 brands via a virtual fitting from the comfort of their couch can do this just as well as someone who wants to buy their glasses on site. What unites these approaches? Empowerment of the consumer: Take the frames in our stores. Like in the online shop, they are sorted by size, shape, and type – so it’s easy for you to try them out and find something suitable. In addition, all the glasses in the stores have QR codes or small photo-cards that you can take home with you, for example, to do your glasses purchase online. In this way, we support our customers directly in the store to find their desired glasses with “ease” as we say. Of course, the advice of experienced opticians is available online or offline. In this way, we offer the kind of advice the customers desire.

 

  1. The shopping experience is constantly evolving across all channels – data-driven, innovative and agile.

Innovation is and will remain our driving force. Buying glasses at Mister Spex should always be intuitive, supportive and fun. We drive this through innovation, expertise, and style: we were the first company to enable a virtual fitting in 2D and 3D and introduced the first online eye test in Germany, the data of which is constantly checked for accuracy by our expert staff. And of course, part of the shopping experience is also that we are always on the lookout for the latest and greatest brands and models that will inspire our customers.

We also rely on technical innovations when it comes to the latest eye test equipment or digital prices. With the latter, we always offer our customers the great online prices also offline in the store.

 

  1. The business model is resilient and synergetic – it is our “flywheel”, driven by customer proximity and data competence.

To enter a new market, we take a strategic and data-driven approach. The first step is to build our online presence in the relevant market. This has two advantages: On the one hand, we can address customers on a nationwide scale with our online offer, unlike most competitors who operate locally in a fragmented environment. That allows us to build our brand efficiently and effectively. Secondly, we can quickly build up a deep understanding of our customers.

How does offline now strengthen online – and vice versa? Our online approach makes the roll-out into a market and the building of the brand efficient. Once the brand has been strengthened in the new market and our insights into the customer needs are correspondingly extensive, we can use our brand power to address further target groups. How do we do this? By opening stores in highly frequented locations. The walk-in audience allows us to expand the target group without large additional investments in marketing. With the help of our data, we know exactly where to place them and how to build the store experience to be successful. The buying process is digitally supported, based on the same technological platform as our online shop. In this way, new customers in the stores are introduced step by step to the online buying process. The specialist staff provide support: From choosing the right style and size of glasses to getting the right lenses package. They also help with creating a customer account, where online and offline meets. Here we bundle all information such as vision values, frame size and purchase history for our customers in one central location.

We create an integrated purchasing experience that considerably simplifies further online or offline purchases. This leads to a high repurchase rate – offline as well as online. The result is strong, profitable, resilient growth.

 

  1. We believe in the future of city centres.

Despite our passion for innovative technologies, we believe in the future of city centres and our stores. It’s no secret that local retail has suffered tremendously from the lockdown. At the same time, the pandemic has shown: People want to meet each other and need the exchange with others. Customers also want to be able to physically “experience” and test products. This means that many of us appreciate browsing in a shop, getting advice, and exchanging ideas. We continue expanding our store network this year and are becoming part of a vibrant neighbourhood. Because to create attractive urban spaces for people, communities and businesses, the revitalisation of our city centres cannot be missing.

 

And what’s next?

We are convinced that our omnichannel strategy guarantees the leading customer experience and is the most sustainable business model. The virtual and physical worlds are closely intertwined, and these boundaries will become increasingly permeable in the future. Immersive technologies such as augmented and virtual reality will offer completely new possibilities in the future – for companies, the economy and society.


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