Specsavers and the Power of the Brand

When Specsavers pops into your mind that is the power of the brand.

Monday morning, I get up, pick up my glasses from the bedside table, and the arm comes off in my hand. “Bad Words” A frustrating start to the morning, but sellotape did a good repair and later the superglue did a better job.

I have worn glasses since I was 19 years old. I had a few years of contact lenses. But that was too much screaming at the bathroom mirror, as I tried to get wet cellophane off my finger and into my eye. Laser surgery is out, those things are best used by Bond villains, so glasses are a fact of life.

Time to call Specsavers

The first job of the day when I at the desk is to call the optician. Now I have used Specsavers for years I guess it’s a habit I got into, and the two pairs for one deal has always been an attractive offer. It means that you can get a pair of glasses and get a second pair of prescription sunglasses at the same time.

I telephoned the Elgin store and said I need an appointment for an eye test. The assistant began to explain that there were no appointments to be had until the end of the month. However there might be a cancellation, there was, could I make Wednesday at 10.30.

So why are my optical arrangements interesting and how does it improve your business? Have you read the E Myth Revisited?

Specsavers is a Systemized Business.

They are an international company and have over 700 branches all over the country. Also in on researching this article I discovered that they turnover £2.7 Billion. That is a lot of glasses. But back to my optical journey.

Now Elgin is a small Scottish town about 45 thousand people. That branch/shop is fully booked for the month at the beginning of September. Now how did they achieve that? First, let’s follow my customer journey and look for clues.

I arrive on Wednesday morning at 10:25 for my 10:35 appointment. Remember small Scottish town middle of the week. The place was heaving with customers, people choosing frames or talking to staff. I forgot to do a staff count, but there were at least six people maybe more wandering around.

On booking in, I am shown to the waiting area, within moments whisked away by young women to do the visual health checks. These are machines that test the health of your eyes. They test the eyeball pressure and photograph the retina all early indicators of eye problems. She also offered me the opportunity to book a hearing test. To which I said “pardon” to be fair she did laugh, as if she had never heard that joke before. I will get to hearing business later.

Deskilled Processes

In the past, these test would have been done by the optician, but Specsavers have deskilled the process by training the support staff to carry out the tests. The results are attached to the patient file to be reviewed by the optician during the eye test.

I returned to the waiting area, just got out my notebook to work and was called into the examination room. 20 minutes give or take and we are done. Test complete he prints out a prescription and calls the desk for a dispensing optician.

The Sales Process

The dispensing optician (which is the salespeople for want of a better word) collected me from the examination room and showed me to a seat in the shop. He went through the options following the test and the examination notes. Then he suggests I go and look at some frames.

The dispensing optician is there to make you feel comfortable buying your glasses, they help and advise you what looks right on your face. They explain how the different frames might work with your prescription. However this is dressed it is a sales process, and at the end of the day, you are buying glasses.

I wonder how they would react If I had just left at this point?

I selected my frames, and two weeks later I get to collect them.

Power of the brand

So jumping forward two weeks, I am back in Specsavers to pick up these new glasses.

They explain my 90 Day 100% satisfaction guarantee. They give me a golden ticket (a 50% discount voucher) to buy more glasses. Plus detail of the hearing test and other services.

The System

What they’ve done is separate out the optician ( the skilled bit) from the time-consuming aspects of the process. They have created systems for every aspect of buying new glasses.

This is the standard operating procedure that ensures they are providing the best service to their customers and operating a profitable company.

As said above this is a £2.7billion operating at an international level.

The Power of Branding

The Specsavers process starts with the brand that is supported by TV and radio advertising.

“Should have gone to Specsavers!”

The catchphrase began in 2003, and the company developed a range of humorous advert of people making mistakes because that I don’t wear the right glasses.

The power of the brand and the message has loaded the market with this idea of that you should go to Specsavers. The advertising is backed up with leaflet drops and direct mail offers.

They also use digital marketing advert and remarketing campaigns. Every aspect of the marketing process explains their system and with the two for one offers as a key driver. They have also recognised that their ageing client group have hearing issues. Hearing aids are another high-value market sector, it must be competitive. But the sales cost is high around £1000 for a pair.


The Optical Business.

If you’re not into buying glasses, you don’t wear them you might need a little explanation. Traditionally going to the optician was an expensive process. My parents 20 years back would pay £200 or more for glasses. At Specsavers today they would be paying half that amount.

The optical industry was a profitable monopoly. Specsavers broke the mould because even with the incentives and discounts the margin on frames and lenses are good.

Over the last 15 years, the market for glasses has grown. Maybe it is the use of computer screens. But that fact is that 61% of the UK population needs optical correction and wear glasses or contact lenses.

Specsavers have ridden that curve and become a market disruptor. It is their systems and supply chain that has taken the money out of independent ophthalmic optician. Take a look at your high street how many independents can you see?

Sales and Marketing Lessons

What can we learn from the journey of my glasses?

1) How can you build a brand that fits the market need and is recognisable for your core message and value?

“Should have gone to spec savers.”

2) How can you add systems to your business to make the customer journey as smooth and efficient as possible?

The Specsavers Process
Appointment, Pre-test, Eye Test with Optician, Dispensing Opticians sells frames. The glasses collection and guarantee.

3) How can you maximise your opportunities from your current customers?

Specsavers: Use direct mail for eye test reminder. They use leaflet drops and digital marketing. On the completion of the sale, they offer discounts for a repeat sale, or the option to pass on the discount.

What do you need to do in your business to replicate the Specsavers success?

I would suggest a strategy…


The Follow-On Story

There is a sting in the tail of this story. There is a new disruptor in the market, and that is the online sales and distribution retailers.

Power of the brand While there will always be people that want the personal service. There is a growing interest in buying glasses using web-based technology. Currently, it requires an up to date prescription, so an external test is needed. However, the websites give the user an opportunity to see the frame on an image of your face, and they will send out frame samples for trial at home.

The online trade is small at the moment, but it will grow as the younger generation who are more comfortable with online purchases age and need glasses. Also as technology changes who is to say that remote eye tests are not possible?

I guess that Specsavers will rise to the challenge and offer a competing service at some point. They have the resources to put up a fight. They would be well to take heed. Blockbuster ignored Netflicks until it was too late.


The important point is, have a strategy 


53 digital marketing tools you must master.

I saw the headline ” 53 digital marketing tools you must master ” on a blog post this week, I guess it was published at the turn of the year, you can find it here if you want to plough through it. Although you may want to watch the video first.

My thoughts were what the xxxx is that about. The full story is in the video, but reality check here could you master 53 digital marketing tools, that many, would you use all of them?


Who needs 53 digital marketing tools, here are my 5

53 digital marketing tools you must master.

The point is as a business owner you do not have the time to do this stuff, you have a business to run. For what it is worth in my opinion there are five tools that every business owner should have at least a working knowledge, if not some degree of mastery.




In the video I suggest five tools are all it takes to make a difference.

Google Analytics.  You need to understand the basics and the important data that makes the difference.

Google Adwords. The tool that changed the face of digital marketing. It gives every business owner the power to find customers. Yes, it has become more difficult to use and it does cost more but that is because it works. (Yes we do offer adwords support if you rather leave it to others)

Social Media. A business owner needs a working knowledge of social media, that does not mean being on every channel. It does mean have the knowledge of who your customers are and on what platform you will find them.

Copy Writing: This is the ability to write in a compelling style, a style the encourages your customers to engage with your website and your social media.

Photography and picture editing.  Every phone is equipped with a fantastic camera, the ability to do simple image edits like improve the colour, change the size or reduce the resolution.will see you right. Simple editing tools are available from your phone app store and there are online resources that will teach and serve.

So there you have it there is no need for 53 digital marketing tools you must master when five will do. But this does bring us on to another point.

Are you making the best of your digital marketing

It has been interesting to witness the development of digital marketing. I have been in the marketing industry since the telex machine, (See here ) experienced direct mail and witnessed the madness that was fax sales letters. The point is there have been many channels of sales communication and digital marketing is the latest derivation.

What makes this so revolutionary is the reach and access. Large companies, the multinationals have always been able to buy access to the market through branding and commercial TV. But never before in human history has this level of access been available to even the smallest business.

What makes it so unique is the level of targeting that is now available. In the past to reach a target market a company would select advertising based on the percentage of possible targets within the catchment of the programme of newspaper circulation.

With digital techniques, you just advertise to the people that you need to, what could be better than that?

A digital strategy that works for you.

At market that we specialise in developing your digital strategy. Yes, you do a bit of social media or place a few ads but what is it that holds it all together. Are you working towards a top line plan? To hear more about this check out the video below. I can write this it will be better if I explain it to you.

[stripe name=”Market That” description=”Adwords Deposit” amount=”10000″]



Is your Google Analytics clean? Use a filter

Google Analyitics Filters Are you throwing mud at your Google Analytics?

Do you use your website as a reference or resource?




Are you clicking on it many times a day to check information or read content or answer customer questions?

As as aside when I worked at the catalogue company, customers would phone into sales and ask a question about a product they had seen in the catalogue. The staff would read the same catalogue information back to them. It is funny how many customers want this service, it must be a sort of assurance that the information was correct and remove the barrier to the purchase.

I digress, the point being, if you are using your website as the reference or the business bible then you are contaminating that data on Google Analytics.

Google will register any visit to your site regardless of how it arrives.   When you or your team access the data it will look like there are lots of searches or direct links to obscure web pages. If you are investing in the digital marketing process, this will make the task harder by masking the true data and creating inflated figures. There is a simple solution filter out your visits.

Exclude your visits with Google Analytics filters

Google analytics filters can be found in the Admin tab on your analytics account.  But you must do this process while using the Internet from the location that you want to block.

Access that admin from the gear at the bottom left of the main analytics screen.  On the admin page is three columns, the filter tab is on the far right half-way down.

While I can do this is words, it is easier to show you so I have made a video the covers the process fully. See Below

If you would like some direct help or have a question get in touch here.

To your success

Paul Harvey