Interviews
Mar 3, 20206 min read

“Perfect Your Services Locally and Succeed Globally”.

isabella ahmadi headshot

by Isabella Ahmadi

You see it everywhere – eyewear is worn by old and young, rich and poor, in every corner of the world. But targeting such a wide audience can be quite daunting. Meet the global e-retailer SmartBuyGlasses which succeeded globally by perfecting their services locally.

Anyone who wears glasses will remember their first pair, which literally changed their view of the world. But eyewear is not only for those with sight impairments. People just adore a cool set of sunglasses and some even wear a pair of frames without prescription lenses, purely for the style statement.

One of the leading global online retailers in the eyewear industry is SmartBuyGlasses. It all started with a vision. Australian-born David Menning and his two friends sought to take eyewear shopping online and make glasses accessible for all – no matter the size of the wallet.

The idea was simple: the best designer glasses for the best prices. First, they launched in Australia and the USA. Now, after more than 10 years in the industry, the company is already present in an impressive 20 countries with headquarters in both Shanghai, China and Turin, Italy.

But there are challenges. Most retailers can attest to the fact that being unique and cutting through the noise is hard. For SmartBuyGlasses, making the customer the star of the show was crucial, says David Menning, co-founder and co-CEO of SmartBuyGlasses Optical Group.

“The challenge within the eyewear industry is to find new ways to compete. With a seemingly uniform offer across the market it is necessary to stand out by other means, which is where user-friendly and user-centric services are key”, David Menning says.

Sighting success

Mapping the road to success, David Menning and his team realized they needed to adapt on a local level. For SmartBuyGlasses, it’s proven advantageous to have a marketing team comprised of people from diverse backgrounds. Each person’s unique expertise and experience enables the company to create offers, campaigns and events perfectly tailored to their different markets.

“To be able to grow and provide the best products and services on a global scale, it is first significant to perfect our services in our local markets. This is how we best learn and evolve. At a local level, we try to adapt in every way possible. That includes providing a hassle-free service from start to finish, and beyond”

Putting an ear to the ground in local markets is also important when deciding on payment methods. When analyzing the Nordic market in particular, SmartBuyGlasses soon identified a superior company providing essential services for payment solutions. The Swedish payment provider and growth partner Klarna stood out as the best service for customers who crave a smooth shopping process. For David Menning, Klarna was a must-have.

Setting goals and reaching them

Partnering up with Klarna, expectations were high. Could this globally acknowledged fintech unicorn actually help the company reach its ambitious business goals? A major task for SmartBuyGlasses was to increase conversion rate. After introducing Klarna in several markets, David Menning was happy to witness the positive results: conversion rates were improving, especially among new site visitors.

The sun kept shining. Cart drop-off decreased and the average order value got a boost. Today, the AOV in Denmark, Austria and Germany especially stand out, exceeding the numbers in markets where SmartBuyGlasses don’t offer Klarna as a payment method.

And the journey with Klarna has just begun.

“As we keep trying to drive conversion and give our customers as smooth a shopping experience as possible, we would like to continue to expand with Klarna to other markets. It makes sense, given that we can see it keeps contributing to our conversion rate and decreasing cart drop-off”, David Menning says.

Read more about how Klarna can improve your business here.

Reassuring hesitating customers

Buying eyewear is often considered an important, high-involvement purchase for consumers, who focus on price, function and fit. Customers want to be certain they will look and feel good in their new frames, of course. They therefore tend to be quite hesitant to buy online. Brick-and-mortar stores are still a preferred choice among eyewear shoppers. But does it have to be that way?

Comparing the eyewear industry to the clothing industry, David Menning notes that the latter has come much further in developing consumers’ online shopping habits. It doesn’t get him down; instead it awakens the drive to detect new solutions for his customers.

Tech is, naturally, a big part of this.

“To tackle this we are always looking to provide the latest technology. We offer a virtual try on and recently launched a prescription lens scanner app for selected markets”, David Menning says.

But that’s not the only remedy for the doubtful customer. The shopping experience needs to be impeccable. Convenience is a core factor, David Menning explains. For that reason, Klarna’s services are crucial.

One Klarna feature that really addresses SmartBuyGlasses’ challenges in e-commerce is the option to buy now and pay later. The customer can order a pair of glasses, receive them, and try them on before paying. If they don’t fit, they can be returned without charge. No need to wait for refunds as with other payment methods. If the customer loves the specs, then great! Just pay and start using them – a perfect setup for the hesitant shopper.

How to keep up in a fast-moving industry

A good idea can take you around the globe. SmartBuyGlasses is living proof of that. But that’s not the whole picture. In order to succeed you need more. In e-commerce specifically, David Menning points out the importance of an attentive user experience. “Every action should be taken with the customer in mind”, he states. In addition to that, a great SEO strategy is vital.

The fashion industry is undoubtedly fast-paced. David Menning has some insights to share on how to tackle the ever-changing reality and not only survive, but flourish.

“It is crucial to be agile, especially online. This notion should flow across all levels of the company: from strategy development and implementation. From tailoring your site to your different markets, to having a responsive site and operating where your users are”, he says.

Using a smoooth shopping partner and payment solutions provider will also help you succeed. Read more about how a partnership with Klarna improves your business.