Chilean opticians developed a way of trying on glasses virtually and sales rocketed. Will Bloom’s online sales increased by 600% in March, due to the spread of coronavirus.
In 2019, Pelayo Correa, a business administrator with a background in retail, co-founded Will Bloom, an optician’s that digitized the buying of glasses and, in March, due to quarantine and social distancing measures, saw its online sales increase by 600%.
Correa explains that he founded the optician’s six months ago with three sales channels: a showroom where customers can try on glasses, a postal service through which they receive four models of glasses from which to choose, and an online channel through the business’s Instagram account where customers can try the 24 virtual models developed using software as if they were a filter on the social network.
Before the health crisis, the main channel was the showroom. Today, however, online sales exceed those through all three channels before the pandemic, increasing from an average of five units a week to 40.
“Coronavirus has been an opportunity, online sales have increased sevenfold and very quickly; from one week to the next, they replaced the entire sales of the showroom. Although 90% of customers found out about us online, 80% of sales still happened in the store, but not now,” says Correa.
New plans for the online channel
The spread of coronavirus means that the company has had to rethink its plans for 2020, focusing on the online channel. Correa indicates that it plans to add new categories of glasses to both the physical and virtual catalogues, with products for children and sports glasses.
“I think we are going to look more to the online channel; if before 80% of sales were physical and 20% online, that will change to something like 50/50. We will focus more on online sales than under our initial strategic plan because online penetration will have increased in Chile,” he says.
The company also plans to open seven new showrooms where customers will be able to try on glasses but not buy them. Its aim is for all sales to be online and for “people to leave the store knowing how to buy virtually, so that next time they do not have to do it in person,” explains Correa.
He indicates that the company’s goal is “to have 4% of the market in four years’ time, through communion between the physical and online channels”.
Connectivity in Chile
Digital connectivity has become a basic aspect of Chileans’ lives. This is reflected in the statistics of the Undersecretariat for Telecommunications (SUBTEL), which show that mobile Internet traffic in 2019 was up by 58% on the previous year.
Would you like to know more about the digital market and investment opportunities in Chile? See this article.
Source: Diario Financiero