Courtesy of Franchising.com
Iconic eye care franchise Pearle Vision is set to soar to new heights, primed for growth with the muscle of a global brand and a fresh take on franchising.
Armed with a game-changing, flexible operating platform, eyecon, Pearle Vision is laser focused on strategically expanding the brand’s North American footprint with both independent optometry practices and multi-unit investors.
“We have a significant history and that heritage is still in our DNA-and we are proud to embrace it,” notes Alex Wilkes, senior vice president and general manager of Mason, Ohio-based Pearle Vision, franchising since 1981. “However, we knew to be the franchise solution, we needed to invest in franchise capabilities, versus being just a franchisor in name brand and marketing only.”
The result, is a doctor-centered business model with a powerful platform of support that takes advantage of the optical engine behind Pearle Vision, a division of Luxottica. The world’s largest company in the eyewear industry, Luxottica’s heavyweight stable of brands includes retailers LensCrafters, Sunglass Hut and OPSM, and luxury eyewear labels such as Ray-Ban, Oakley, and Persol.
Launched in 2015, Pearle Vision’s turnkey supply chain solution is designed to maximize efficiencies at each EyeCare Center with a franchise-wide point of sale system that ties into Luxottica’s infrastructure. The platform provides franchisees with a consistent operating platform and central product sourcing.
“We are the leader in frame manufacturing, assortment management and retailing of optical,” says Wilkes. “These capabilities allow a franchisee to pull from all of that amazing knowledge, skill and capabilities that we have built as a global organization.”
Pearle Vision’s eyecon, along with the brand’s redefined local marketing approach, offers a path to profitability with national brand recognition that is already paying off. Wilkes estimates the 60 percent of franchisees systemwide who have adopted the platform have seen a six-point rise in their Net Promoter Score.
“Consumers are voting, and we are producing better experiences in these locations,” notes Wilkes. “We have also seen a 6.7 percent topline increase in sales for those who have adopted our operating model.”
With more than 500 EyeCare Centers in North America, longtime industry leading Pearle Vision has been an innovator from the start. Founded by Dr. Stanley Pearle in 1961 as a neighborhood spot for one-stop, total care, Pearle Vision has never lost sight of the brand’s mantra, “Nobody Cares for Eyes More Than Pearle.”
The move toward strategic growth is designed to meet the needs of today’s independent optometrists, both seasoned and recent graduates, as well as independent practices seeking greater structure, support and marketing expertise.
“We give the independent doctor a platform to help make them stronger, more viable and competitive in this evolving landscape,” Wilkes says. “We take that administrative burden away. By leveraging our scale, doctors have more time to take great care of their patients.”
The brand is also set to expand with entrepreneurs and experienced franchise investors, with no optical industry experience, who want to diversify with a proven business model and strong system of support. Pearle Vision’s Area Developer model, launched in 2017, awards qualified licensed owners the rights to open throughout entire designated market areas or states.
“We believe there is significant opportunity for franchise growth,” Wilkes says. “We want to grow the brand and are going after it in a multitude of ways, from developing programs for independent optometrists and opticians to convert their locations, to expanding area development rights fostering entrepreneurs to commit to building out a defined market.”
The evolution of Pearle Vision operationally coincides with the repositioning of the retailer away from noisy broad-based messages that “scream promotion” and devalue the industry, toward a focus on the importance of genuine eye care and the value of the brand.
“We want to stand for quality eye care and strong doctor-patient relationships,” Wilkes says. “My hope is that one day, we are a case study that talks about how you can actually move off of promotion and not only survive–but thrive.”
To learn more about the Pearle Vision franchise opportunity, visit www.ownapearlevision.com.