Belgian contacts webshop LensOnline has broken its record turnover last semester. Covid-19 has finally allowed e-commerce to break through to all parts of the population, the company says.
Elderly embrace e-commerce
In the past six months, LensGroup saw turnover grow by 30 %. In its Belgian home market, the number of customers rose by 10,000, including a significant number of elderly persons. According to the e-commerce group, the past period was the best in its sixteen years of existence.
"Covid-19 has allowed e-commerce to finally break through to all parts of the Belgian population", CEO Koen Anné says. "Remarkably, those new customers are not just there for one try: after six months, we notice that they continue to order and that the amount of their repeated orders is not dropping."
There were, however, major differences between the different countries in which LensGroup is active: turnover in the Netherlands doubled and is now as big as that of all 12,000 opticians in France combined. In Italy and Spain on the other hand turnover dropped slightly as Covid-19 created logistical problems for the Belgian group.
Hybrid distribution is the future
LensGroup has been working hard to join forces with local opticians, where customers can get extra service in addition to the webshops. In the past six months, the Belgian group sees confirmation for this "hybrid distribution model", and wants to expand on it in the future. "LensGroup currently has a series of webshops, but we notice that those with only an online presence are not growing as fast as those who have online and offline distribution. This is an insight we can now build on", Anné says.
The CEO has one more tip for classic physical retailers: "Embrace the Internet and integrate it fully in all your processes. Do not treat it as a separate division, because then you will only create a company inside your own company, which will become a competitor for your traditional distribution."