Monday, 24 February 2014

Specsavers segments the market for eyewear

How does Specsavers, the retail eyewear company, segment the consumer market for spectacles?

It starts with the broad definition of the available market: Customers who are interested in and have sufficient income and access to the product--meaning people who already wear prescription spectacles or want the fashion or function benefits of reasonably-priced spectacles, both indoor and for the sun.

Specsavers then applies a number of segmentation variables, including demographics (men/women), geographic (location in the UK, Australia, and 8 other countries), lifestyle/personality (fashion consciousness), price sensitivity (affordable eyewear), brand loyalty and perceived benefits.

The company partners with local optometrists and retailers to open branded stores that combine the buying power of a large retail chain with the personal approach of eyecare professionals who are based in and understand the local market. The combination makes for powerful competition. When Specsavers entered the Australian market in 2008, it opened 100 retail locations in 100 days. Today, the company has captured 35% of the market, and high brand recognition is helping its 290+ locations attract and retain customers. The business has an Australian glazing laboratory to serve the local market efficiently and effectively.

Specsavers also gives special marketing attention to specific segments within the overall market. For example, its Corporate Eyecare division offers a free booklet to help fleet operators encourage drivers to protect their eyes and eVouchers that employers can offer employees for eyewear discounts. The idea is to reach consumers by targeting their employers.

Targeting children, Specsavers has issued a special kids' magazine to promote good eyecare habits and promote specific branded frames, including Moshi Monster frames (segmentation variables: age and family situation). Just for seniors, Specsavers has a discount that supports its targeting of this large segment (age, price sensitivity).

In its home country of the UK, Specsavers sponsors a Book of the Year contest, inviting consumers to vote for their favourite book/author. At the end of 2013, best-selling author Neil Gaiman won for his book, The Ocean at the End of the Lane. This high-profile contest keeps the brand in the public eye for literary reasons, not just because of the benefits of affordable fashion spectacles.

To see what Specsavers is doing these days, visit its Facebook page (122,000+ likes), its Twitter page (20,000 followers) and its YouTube channel (more than 1 million views).

This post updates and extends the opening example in Chapter 3 of Essential Guide to Marketing Planning, 3d edition.