The eye care company that’s set its sights on digital

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Can eye care and shopping for eyewear become a completely digital, online experience? One company thinks so.

Luxottica is a premium maker and retailer of fashion, luxury and sports eyewear, both optical and sun. The Italian giant’s spectacle brands include premium fashion marques, such as Armani, Burberry, Chanel, Dolce & Gabbana, Donna Karan, Oakley, Oliver Peoples, Prada, Ralph Lauren, Tiffany, and the iconic Ray Ban. It also owns the David Clulow and Sunglass Hut retail outlets, among many others, and the Glasses.com domain.

UCInsight spoke to group CIO, Dario Scagliotti, to find out how this global retailer, brand owner, designer, and contract manufacturer is navigating the complex world of omni-channel commerce for its customers and partners.

“We have been investing in ecommerce and omni-channel for the past four years, like everyone. But optical retail is an experience where things are different when you buy online. So we are considering with the greatest possible attention new innovative business models created by the online market.

“In 2014 we acquired a company called Glasses.com, which is doing optical retail with prescription frames purely online with no stores, no physical presence.

“I’m convinced that the opportunities for online eye care – and also healthcare generally – are enormous because it is normally a slow and cumbersome experience. The ability that technology has to enable things like remote examination are already known, but the ability to completely and radically change the consumer experience is great. But it’s obviously much more complicated than buying stuff from Macy’s, or from House of Fraser.”

So in what ways does Luxottica approach personal service differently?

“In eye care and healthcare, the ability for online retailers to deal with specific consumers is crucial. We have no IVR system in our contact centre for Glasses.com, because the experience is already ‘too much digital’. Customers only speak to another person. The opportunity to immediately talk to a human being is important.”

So how should retailers – and anyone else who deals with customers online and via mobile devices – approach balancing technology with the human element?

“We are all familiar of the old mantra of technology: standardise, unify, consolidate, and make things more efficient – that’s not a bad thing. But we are entering another world. The consumer is an individual, and he belongs to an area, he belongs to a culture, and to me this is the most important thing when dealing with the opportunities we have online.

“Online you know your consumer far better than in a store. You have much more potential. And I’m not saying this to try to squeeze more money out of them. In my opinion – talking about eye care! – that would be very short-sighted. Shaping an experience with us is more important. I want to help you, the consumer, by offering better services and better discounts if we are working together in a more structured way.”

 

About Author

Chris Middleton

Chris Middleton is a widely respected business and technology journalist, author, and magazine editor. In recent years he has been Editor of Computing (where he remains Consulting Editor); co-founder and Managing Editor of Professional Outsourcing – a magazine he developed from scratch and grew to be the leading magazine in its field; Editor of CBR in its most successful year; and co-founder and launch Editor of Sourcingfocus.com. Today, he is co-Director of EastwoodMiddleton Publishing, and founder, designer, and Editor in Chief of Strategist magazine (UK), the boardroom magazine that provides strategic insight for business leaders, and of its mobile-first digital edition at www.iamtheStrategist.com. He is also co-founding Editor of Child Internet Safety magazine, and a contributing Editor of Diginomica.com. Over the years Chris has also written for, among many others, The Guardian, The Times, the BBC, and Computer Weekly. He is the author of several successful books on digital media, and a commissioning editor of more than 50 books.