Lenskart eyes operation expansion through franchise model

Lenskart plans to expand by opening 1,000 brick-and mortar shops through the franchise model.
Lenskart to try a new approach

As per Peyush Bansal, CEO, Lenskart, the company plans to expand by opening 1,000 brick-and mortar shops through the franchise model. These shops, which will also enable delivery, service and return of products ordered online, will allow the company to expand quickly, while remaining asset light.

According to Bansal, the eyewear category is highly fragmented and dominated by small neighbor-hood stores. The online retailer ships close to 1,20,000 orders a month, that is too high compared to the competitors.

The Titan Company, which also sells eyewear, watch and jewellery outlets had 1,266 stores at the end of December. Reliance Retail operates India's largest chain, with more than 3,000 stores in 371 cities. Lenskart, based in Faridabad, already operates 150 stores. Presently a majority of its business comes from its mobile apps and stores, unlike last year when all orders were placed online through desktops.

The company aims to open another 150 outlets in the coming months and hopes to reach the 1,000 mark very quickly. Apart from catering to demand from offline customers, the partner network of franchise stores would offer supplementary services for online consumers.

Bansal said that the same partner network allows for many things. It services the online orders via home delivery, takes care of the logistics and payments and provides home service. He added that the company won't have to spend on setting up the stores and these shops in turn would help expand business.

Lenskart has about 170 employees on ground in seven cities who conduct about 1,000 eye exams at home every day. Bansal said that they hope to expand to 55 to 60 cities in the next six months.

The firm received funding of about $22 million in a Series-C round led by private equity firm TPG Capital, Hong Kong-based TR Capital and existing investor IDG Ventures earlier this year. Lenskart is already clocking a revenue "run rate" of Rs 300 crore and hopes to reach the Rs 2,500 crore mark in the next four years. Although it is well funded, it could do with more funding to invest in its backend infrastructure and its manufacturing capacity.

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