Rolling out our omni-channel strategy

The rise of online shopping has reshaped the retail sector in recent years. In optical retailing, this impact is still less profound than in other retail sectors. Pure online sales only represent an estimated 5% of total optical retail sales because face-to-face interaction with a vision expert remains an essential part of the customer journey. At the same time, many parts of the sales process and customer journey are increasingly conducted online offering more convenience or better choice to the customer. Often, the first interaction is on the websites of GrandVision's retail banners or when they are exposed to our communication on other websites.

Customers around the world expect retailers to provide more flexible forms of retail interaction and service than only in-store. To align with this growing consumer trend and evolving customer expectations, GrandVision is implementing an omni-channel strategy. Among the services included in this omni-channel route to market are store locators, online and in-store real time appointment booking systems and the pre-selection of frames, as well as in-store features enabled by new technologies. Many of our retail banners, such as, Solaris and Apollo Optik, also offer customers the ability to purchase contact lenses, sunglasses or spectacles directly online.

GrandVision's omni-channel platform will enable our retail banners to take a more holistic view of our customer needs in the future and strategically coordinate their approach. All channels and touchpoints, including those based online, are working to offer a seamlessly integrated and consistent shopping experience. In 2016, Apollo-Optik in Germany launched the next phase of its online presence that includes e-commerce functionality, using the group-wide omni-channel technology platform. Among other benefits, it allows local customers to select and buy frames or glasses online, and book appointments online. Our intention is to continuously develop new ways to enhance the total customer experience and to deploy this internationally.