Himalaya Optical is one of the largest retail companies in the vision care business in India. Ever since its inception, Himalaya Optical has been one of the dynamic retail chains in this business. Here is Mr. Sarat Binani, MD, Himalaya Opticals, sharing his experience and his vision for the brand with our correspondent Aadeetya Sriram.
Aadeetya Sriram (AS): Tell us about Himalaya Optical? What are your product categories and its USP’s?
Sarat Binani (SB): Himalaya Optical, one of India’s largest optical retail chains for prescription eyewear and sunglass business has been a pioneer in introducing innovation, lifestyle and fashion in the vision care industry. Promoted by the Binani family, and over more than 75 years into existence, Himalaya is one of the most preferred eye care brand today among all segment.
Becoming one of the country’s most popular optical chain stores was no cakewalk. The journey started way back in Karachi in the year 1935. It was the vision of Late Manna Lalji Binani- a vision that was marked with struggle for perfection, achievements and customer satisfaction. With a humble beginning of only one optical retail store; now Himalaya is proud of having over 250 expert employees and 51 stores all across India. Since its formative years as an Optical Store, Himalaya has endeavoured to become the best possible optical hub which aims in increasingly to adhere to its motto of “all modes of eye care and eye-wears under one roof”.
Over the years, we have successfully established ourselves across the country and gained the paramount confidence of our valued customers. With a strong vision to create a brand that would not only provide quality and credible solutions to its consumers but also provide latest products and services, Himalaya Optical has been the driving force behind the changing face of eye care in the country today.
At Himalaya, we understand the needs of our customers. Thus we offer a wide range of spectacle frames, international brands of sunglasses, various qualities and latest varieties of contact lenses of reputed brands – all set to give you a smart and progressive look!
Our Product line includes different lenses that Himalaya Optical specialises in like driving lenses, computer lenses, flat and thin lenses, occupational lenses, feather-like lenses, fashion wear life style lenses, life at 40 lenses, reflection free lenses, no- line multifocal lenses, extremities and sports lenses.
Frames as a necessity has been ousted by a fashion accessory. It marks the signature style of an individual. Himalaya has tried to achieve this by creating a huge variety of frames for its customers. The colourful frames that compliment your outfit are available at Himalaya only. Materials like titanium, beta titanium, Monel, and nickel provide comfort and also protect from skin dermatitis. Our signature brands include Phillipe Morelle, GenX, Allan Azzaro,Uth, Oliver Martini to name a few.
Gucci, Prada, Armani, CK, Giordano, Police, Oakley, Roberto Cavalli, Fendi, Porsche, Enrico Coveri and Montblanc to sunglasses make your style and wardrobe a complete one. These provide you with the much needed protection from UV rays, dust particles and soothes your eyes from the extreme summer heat.
Himalaya houses all the known international brands of lenses which come with different modalities.
AS: Can you elaborate on your specialised services and the procedure it undertakes?
SB: Low Vision is partial loss of sight and it affects the daily routine activities. The specialists examine the eyes for residual vision and provide optical aids like magnifiers, tele-microscopes, visors, foldable canes, torch lights for overcoming partial vision loss. It is a complete rehabilitation center to correct the above problem. Accurate diagnosis of eye care problems is done through advanced diagnostic equipments. The eye care practitioners are certified from globally renowned institutes like Shankar Netralaya and L.V.P.E.I. and their efforts are to provide best combination of lenses and frames.
Then, Computer Vision Syndrome can be defined as a collection of symptoms experienced by a computer user in the course of his work which may stretch to the time when he is not working on the computer.With a little effort and understanding of the syndrome, we can treat CVS victims at CVS clinics.
Orthoptics is the discipline dealing with the diagnosis and treatment of defective eye. An Orthopist has to use lenses and undergo vision therapy to change visual habits and gain greater eye co-ordination. The concept of Orthoptics Clinic for Children in West Bengal is supported by Himalaya. The aim of Himalaya Optical is to provide vision solutions at the most affordable costs.
Oculars Prosthesis is an artificial device that is placed in the empty eye socket. An artificial eye is handcrafted by the Ocularist in such a manner to match the natural eye. The plastic eye fits under the eyelids much like the contact lenses.
The success of any sportsman depends to a large extent on the prowess of his eye. Realizing the need for protection from trauma and non-ionizing radiation in sports, Himalaya provides vision products and services for athletes. The mission at Himalaya is to visually recharge our athlete certainly and all other occupations with light weight and comfortable frames.
LASIK is a surgical process to remove the dependence on glasses and contact lenses. Excimer Laser is used to reshape your cornea. The process hardly takes two minutes per eye and it is absolutely painless. Successful surgery in LASIK is done by some of the most experienced surgeons. World’s latest American FDA and stringent patient selection criteria ensures almost 100% success rate at our centre. At Himalaya Vision Care Centre we have all adequate arrangements to ensure the best results.
AS: What is your marketing strategy?
SB: At Himalaya optical we follow all the 4C’s of marketing mix- Customer value, Cost to the customer, Convenience for the buyer & Communication. Customer satisfaction is the best strategy for not only retaining the existing customers but also to expand the business to new horizons.
AS: Which high-end brands are you associated with?
SB: All renowned international & national brands of eyewear are present under our roof like Cartier, Versace,Prada, Bulgari, Tommy Hillfiger, Rayban, D&G, Tag Heur to name a few. We are associated with international lens brands like Essilor, Nikon, Seiko & others.
AS: Your annual turnover and growth for ’10-’11? What are your expectations for ’11-’12?
SB:The company is currently growing at a rate of 20% annually. For 2011-12, the company expects a growth target of 25-30%. This will be achieved from the growth in sales in the existing outlets as well as opening of new outlets".
AS: Your market share in the eyewear segment?
BS: There is no specific data in terms of the market share as no specific agencies have ever done any research on this. The market is highly unorganized with only 10-15% of the market is under organized category. Among the organized segment Himalaya market share should be among the TOP 3 players in India.
AS: What changes in Indian Retail trends are visible to you? Which direction do you see it going?
BS: The whole retail trends are on a sweep for a big change. The unorganised businesses are turning into organised with much faster pace than earlier. With the corporate coming into retail business and the market getting open to offshore players, the market growth towards getting organised will become rapid. If this pace continues I hope the organised market share in every retail category will get double over the period of next 5 yrs. There is going to be good consolidation and re-structuring in every category of business over the next 5 yrs.
AS: Your future expansion plans?
BS: Himalaya truly believes in realistic expansion with huge focus on the Top line as well as bottom line of the business. We will be present in major cities and towns of the country in the next 4 years and will reach a count of 80 by 2013.