In the hard-fought Best In-Store Experience of the Year category it was Specsavers who won out for its impressive range of services offered in-store. In the optical retail sector, the main challenges that Specsavers identified were the threat from online and a lack of professional resource (Optometrist and Audiologist).

Chris Jenkins of PCMS Group presents Sarah Marshall of Specsavers with Best In-store Experience of the Year

To keep people in-store, rather than being tempted to look online, Specsavers created a wow factor with a new app called Frame Styler, which takes a digital image of the customer’s face. It then uses this information, to advise the correct shape and style, for the face. The customer can then digitally try on these frames and see what they look like. It has proved very popular as consumers have driven a rise in conversion rates.

Specsavers’ FrameStyler in action

Large parts of the UK are currently affected by optometrist shortages and this leads to reduced capacity for growth, loss of turnover, and poor customer satisfaction. The Eye Refract is a scanning aberrometer, which measures the prescription, in under three minutes. As this is now removed from the optometrist’s role, within the test room, the optometrist can reduce the sight test time, thus increasing the number of people every optometrist can see. Again, very popular with people who can then enjoy a more personalised consultation with their optometrist.

Speeding up the eye test: Specsavers’ aberrometer

Finally, Specsavers has very cleverly introduced several techniques normally seen in hospital environments into the store. OCT is an imaging technique that uses light waves to take cross section pictures of the eye and allows detection of eye diseases, such as macular degeneration and diabetic eye disease much sooner. This has enabled Specsavers to be involved in community eye-care rather than forcing customers to go the hospital where resource is stretched and limited. This additional service is charged at £10 which enables return on investment in approximately nine months, but importantly it is driving new footfall, when other retailers are seeing reduced volumes.

Specsavers proved to the judges that providing good old fashioned customer service, alongside disruptive and exciting new technology, does bring people in-store and it made them worthy winners.