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    Specsavers Entering Canada

    Just wondering if anyone else is aware of Specsavers coming to Canada?

    #2
    Yeah i heard that. How can someone from UK move there?

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      #3
      Hello all
      SpecSavers entered the Cdn market (I guess I should say BC market as I'm not sure about Eastern Canada) by purchasing Image Optometry. Image was an OD owned "chain" with 15 locations in the lower mainland (Vancouver and surroundings) and one on Vancouver Island.
      I was wondering what impressions/experiences do UK and Aussie/NZ Optometrists have about working for/with SS??

      Thanks
      Steve

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        #4
        They have a pretty bad reputation both for customer service and as employers. Especially of optometrists. But because they control over 50% of the UK market, plenty of people still work for them.

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          #5
          I second that. Having worked for one of their tech centers which processes errors in orders placed in store I can confirm there is a serious lack of professionalism and knowledge. Let's see how the Canadians rate them.

          Because of this however they've never been quite the serious threat to other UK optical chains.

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            #6
            Hi,

            from personal experience with doing my pre reg at specsavers and subsequently working for them for 3 years afterwards… this is a terrible omen for Canadian optometrists in the future. They devalue the Optometry profession to the ground, focusing solely on the sale of glasses in order to bring in profit. That mindset makes optometrists more like salesmen. The directors of the store were explicitly told to focus on the negative and not the positive so the optometrists would think they weren’t worthy of any raises. They expect overtime work with no compensation. Honestly, the worst experience I’ve had with an occupation which almost made me quit being an optometrist. Friends in the UK still have theirs griefs over it. Hopefully their business motto gets shut down quick and the Canadian Optometrists board realize how bad this is going to be if they expand further

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              #7
              They are going to cause serious damage, with inflation and the recession looming around the corner their prices and deals many people will flock to them.

              How do we compete and what do we focus on is what the broader conversation should be about

              Comment


                #8
                When SS announced they were coming to Australia there was much lamenting.
                "How will we compete???".
                "Should I sign up for SS before they destroy my practice?" and a bunch more what ifs.

                The practices that tried to go head to head with SS and compete on price came undone. Some practice owners that had multiple practices tried to hedge their bets and have one store as a SS and keep any others as independents. There was often fine print in the agreements that essentially meant "one in, all in" so before they knew it all their practices were SS.

                The practices that kept their heads and continued to run their own race initially saw a drop in their customer base for around 3 months on average but then found there was a return from disgruntled customers that had tried SS due to the curiosity factor and the massive advertising blitz SS ran.
                If SS enter Canada in a similar fashion that they used for Australia then there will be a somewhat lean period for most of their competitors anywhere from a few months to a year but after the hype there will be a rebound for the competition that dug in for the long haul.

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by JGor View Post
                  When SS announced they were coming to Australia there was much lamenting.
                  "How will we compete???".
                  "Should I sign up for SS before they destroy my practice?" and a bunch more what ifs.

                  The practices that tried to go head to head with SS and compete on price came undone. Some practice owners that had multiple practices tried to hedge their bets and have one store as a SS and keep any others as independents. There was often fine print in the agreements that essentially meant "one in, all in" so before they knew it all their practices were SS.

                  The practices that kept their heads and continued to run their own race initially saw a drop in their customer base for around 3 months on average but then found there was a return from disgruntled customers that had tried SS due to the curiosity factor and the massive advertising blitz SS ran.
                  If SS enter Canada in a similar fashion that they used for Australia then there will be a somewhat lean period for most of their competitors anywhere from a few months to a year but after the hype there will be a rebound for the competition that dug in for the long haul.
                  Interesting, why do you think independent optical stores couldn’t compete with their price points, were the margins to thin?

                  Where do you think Specsavers drops the mall to cause disgruntled customers, what are their weak points?

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Originally posted by Opticia_n View Post
                    Interesting, why do you think independent optical stores couldn’t compete with their price points, were the margins to thin?

                    Where do you think Specsavers drops the mall to cause disgruntled customers, what are their weak points?
                    Bulk buying power and aggressive negotiating with suppliers give SS an advantage with discounting. Unless an independent competitor is willing to bet running some stock as a loss leader will get customers into their store to upsell then trying to match SS deals will only result in SS undercutting any competitors discount deal until the competition just gives up.

                    Disgruntled SS customers occurred for a number of reasons. An Rx that was a bit out of the ordinary could be subject to a number of remakes (more than you would expect), repairs to frames were rare if done at all (the preference was to just replace them which often took time), customers were often charged a reglazing fee if they insisted on using their own frame regardless of the condition the frame was in and frame adjustments were often neglected when new spectacles were delivered to customers.
                    All in all, if you are an independent practice keep your customer base gruntled with professional service and open communication. :-)

                    As I mentioned before there most likely will be a drop off in the initial period of SS entry because they are a bit of a juggernaut and the average customer will be interested in saving money but if they have to have spectacles constantly replaced the inconvenience will have them reexamining their choice.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by JGor View Post
                      Bulk buying power and aggressive negotiating with suppliers give SS an advantage with discounting. Unless an independent competitor is willing to bet running some stock as a loss leader will get customers into their store to upsell then trying to match SS deals will only result in SS undercutting any competitors discount deal until the competition just gives up.

                      Disgruntled SS customers occurred for a number of reasons. An Rx that was a bit out of the ordinary could be subject to a number of remakes (more than you would expect), repairs to frames were rare if done at all (the preference was to just replace them which often took time), customers were often charged a reglazing fee if they insisted on using their own frame regardless of the condition the frame was in and frame adjustments were often neglected when new spectacles were delivered to customers.
                      All in all, if you are an independent practice keep your customer base gruntled with professional service and open communication. :-)

                      As I mentioned before there most likely will be a drop off in the initial period of SS entry because they are a bit of a juggernaut and the average customer will be interested in saving money but if they have to have spectacles constantly replaced the inconvenience will have them reexamining their choice.
                      Thanks for taking the time out for responding.

                      Based on first hand experience of what happened in Australia and what your describing it does make sense business will slide for sometime.

                      Professionalism and great communication is going to be important.

                      They are opening 3 doors next to us so we are changing our store front to make it look more attractive.

                      We currently have our packages with AR coating included for each pair, Specsavers prices don’t included that initially hence their prices appear even cheaper.

                      We are thinking to not include AR in our packages and upsell it instead but we don’t want that to backfire on us either, what are people doing in Australia?

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Originally posted by Opticia_n View Post
                        Thanks for taking the time out for responding.

                        Based on first hand experience of what happened in Australia and what your describing it does make sense business will slide for sometime.

                        Professionalism and great communication is going to be important.

                        They are opening 3 doors next to us so we are changing our store front to make it look more attractive.

                        We currently have our packages with AR coating included for each pair, Specsavers prices don’t included that initially hence their prices appear even cheaper.

                        We are thinking to not include AR in our packages and upsell it instead but we don’t want that to backfire on us either, what are people doing in Australia?
                        The independents and non-SS aligned chains have all taken a variety of strategies. The successful ones create a point of difference that is a value-added service that SS do not offer or are reluctant to offer.
                        For some that meant in store edging and fitting. Others emphasized free frame adjustments for the life of the frame with free replacement nose pads for metal frames.
                        Personally, I wouldn't down grade your package offer as that will be seen as a direct challenge to SS and they will happily go toe to toe with you and undercut your pricing. Stick with your original package as the first choice for customers (explaining the benefits) and rather than try to upsell your customers turn it on its head and if a customer queries the cost offer your "Budget" package without the AR.

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