Written by Laura Close
Specsavers, a family-run business born from a table tennis tournament in the company owners’ home, has a sizeable chunk of the eyewear market in Australia. Optometrists Doug and Mary Perkins wanted to be able to offer a large cross-section of modern, fashionable glasses without compromising the quality of eye care – and at prices that everyone could afford. Specsavers is the third largest supplier of eye care in the world, and last year they were awarded the title off franchiser of the year by numerous publications.
Since 2006, Specsavers has opened over 290 stores in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, Adelaide, Darin, Tasmania and regional centres across the country; this includes opening an impressive 100 stores in their first 100 days as part of the Australian market. Customer satisfaction is the main priority of Specsavers – and they support this by easing the business responsibilities for their franchisees.
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Through Specsavers, an optometrist and a retailer jointly own a store, but each is allowed to focus on their areas of expertise rather than balancing this with running the business. Specsavers pays for the marketing, training, administration and other strategies so the optometrist can spend more energy on his or her patients and the retailer can spend the time with their customers to make sure they leave with the perfect pair of glasses.
Their appeal to customers is also unique. Alex Perry and Collette Dinnigan, two well-known Australian designers, collaborated with Specsavers to design fashion-forward and modern frames for this unique market, something that Specsavers has done exclusively in Australia, and no other jurisdictions.
Another huge asset to customers is their current cost of eyewear. Specsavers runs its own glazing laboratory, allowing the company to put out up to 25,000 pairs of glasses a week. This has severely reduced the price of glasses. Australians could have paid upwards of $500 before Specsavers became a household name. Now, eyewear starts at $39.
And Specsavers is nowhere near slowing down. Over 100 store openings are planned for the next two years, leading to a projected increase in market share from 35 percent to 40 percent in the next five years. The customer base will likely continue to grow with the opening of new stores. Once the wave of new stores begins to slow, renewed efforts will be made to increase customer traffic. While the number of stores and the hold on the market create impressive statistics, Doug and Mary Perkins will certainly continue to focus more of Specsavers’s energy on customer accessibility and satisfaction.