Nova Eyewear, the flagship brand from the house of Vision Rx Lab, the globally renowned ophthalmic lens manufacturer, was introduced in India more than a decade ago. While catering to the international market with its vast portfolio of eyewear solutions, spanning advanced digital lenses, Rx sunglasses to fashionable frames, its innovative eyewear categories were introduced in India over the years to meet the growing demands of the Indian consumers too. In an exclusive conversation with Pammi Jamalpuria, VP-Corporate Marketing, Vision Rx Lab talks about India expansion plans.
Tell us about the Nova’s journey in Indian market so far? Also, what are the key leanings acquired so far?
The journey of this brand Nova in India started with the launch of Nova Plus introducing digital progressive & single vision lenses in the country. Following the success of Nova Plus, other advanced lens categories were introduced over the years to meet the growing demand for light weight lenses with superior vision and better aesthetics along with other product categories such as fashionable frames, Rx sunglasses and swimming goggles as per market needs. Over the years Nova has grown as a complete eyewear brand by adding a wide category of eyewear products under its kitty, spanning advanced digital lenses such as Nova UHD for active lifestyle, Nova Drive for clear & comfortable driving, Nova Office for occupational purposes, revolutionary lens materials like Nova Blumax for protection from harmful blue & UV rays, Sun solutions like Nova Sun and Sports, while also continuing to dole out the very latest in fashionable frames, sunglasses and swimming goggles.
The Indian consumer base is significantly younger when compared to the global average. And this young consumer base is willing to experiment and spend on products which they perceive to be of value. And today eyewear products are seen by the health and fashion conscious young consumers as an important accessory.
With penetration of electronic gadgets such as smart phones, laptops and tablets as well as LED screens, the Indian population is facing eye related issues and therefore looking for branded eyewear products which offer crystal clear vision, optimum protection and are at the same time highly fashionable, which are aptly fulfilled by the advanced vision solutions from Nova.
What is your assessment about premium eyewear market in India? According to you what are factors propelling growth in this segment?
The eyewear market in India which basically comprised of many unorganized players for quite some time made opportunity for branded eyewear market to grow, which is now moving ahead with innovative products , clear product positioning, brand communications, celebrity endorsement, and proper brand activation in all regions across the country backed with proper distribution channels. According to estimates around 500 million people in India have uncorrected vision and premium brands are proactively tapping into their target segment market by creating awareness about the vision solutions offered by them for visual health backed with robust communications.
Also erstwhile, eyewear was only associated with vision correction and sun protection, with focus on functionality and not aesthetics, without having much options for consumers who were fashion conscious and led an active lifestyle. But the advent of digital technology has paved the way for revolutionary digital manufacturing process which has made it possible to create digital lenses which comes with highest level of clarity and aesthetics and also could be customised as per wearer’s requirement.
Today premium eyewear market offers various categories of lenses which cater to different visual requirements such as such as relief from eye-fatigue, for sports, for office environment, driving and progressives for different visual needs. Thus consumers today have ample options when it comes to choosing the right pair of eyewear for clear and healthy vision without comprising on aesthetics, and thus the premium eyewear market seems promising.
What is the current distribution of Nova Eyewear in India. Going forward what are the plans to scale up the distribution?
Nova Eyewear has considerable patronage amongst lens distributors or wholesalers, eye care practitioners (ECP) and optical retail stores across India. Hence a host of leading optical retail stores across the country have already been catering to the brand Nova and has been recommending and selling it to the customers. Simultaneously, Nova has been reaching out to the consumers directly through interesting marketing communications featuring its brand ambassador Jacqueline Fernandez to help the trade partners to boost sales by making the brand visible and in a way helping them to fight competition from other emerging players with such consumer pull strategies. By roping in a famous face like Jacqueline Fernandez, the brand has created a buzz in the consumer segment which has helped in strengthening the brand further in the market, and it would continue to do so with more interesting campaigns with the Bollywood star.
How do you see the role of social media as far as the marketing strategies are concerned. Also, tell us about the brand’s latest campaign with Bollywood Actor Jacqueline Fernandez?
In today’s digital age, social media is one of the fastest medium to reach out to the consumers directly, and Nova has been reaching out to the consumers directly to its target group of young ambitious workforce, socially active urbanites through interesting marketing communications to create awareness about the advanced vision solutions that are available to them under a single brand.
In Nova Eyewear’s new campaign, with the brand being repositioned as ‘Complete Eyewear’, Jacqueline Fernandez sports the new categories in lenses, frames and sunglasses with great élan and effectively showcases the availability of the wide range of vision solutions in fashionable frames under one single brand. Through this campaign Nova Eyewear continues to position itself a one-stop solution for all visual needs, offering an array of world-class vision solution technologies for lenses combined with the latest in fashionable frames and sunglasses to the consumers.
According to you what are the major competition for eyewear retailing in India?
With the boom in e-commerce there is a definite change in consumer behavior pattern. Today eyewear products are bought like any fast moving consumer product online rather than paying a visit to a traditional optical chain. There is also growing preference for the convenience of instant delivery and discounts offered by new players over the best practices maintained in dispensing by the traditional retailers.
At last, kindly highlight your growth plans?
Backed with 14 manufacturing labs including digital labs and 21 service centres spread across the country, we want to take Nova not only in metropolitan cities, but also smart cities in India where consumers are keen to invest in value added products.