Lenskart is a rapidly growing Indian omnichannel direct-to-consumer eyewear retailer with its eyes set on expanding operations worldwide. Presently, the company is using its headquarters in Singapore to expand into Southeast Asia, and gearing up to scale in the Middle East from its headquarters in UAE.
With an expanding chain of 24 stores in Singapore, and a website, the company needs to deliver a stellar customer experience not just online and offline, but on mobile as well. This is because Lenskart launched the first and only eyewear mobile app in Singapore to meet the growing online shopping demand for eyewear in the market. With over 10 million downloads, that’s a massive amount of customer data flowing in that needs to be analysed in order for the business to effectively offer personalized experiences at scale.
The problem with scaling SMS as a communication channel
When many organisations send out a marketing campaign, they may usually start with email or social media. However, this is not sufficient in an omnichannel world. The reality is, building an omnichannel customer experience requires that you deeply understand your customers’ channel preferences for different scenarios. For example, if a customer abandons the cart and you only send them a reminder via email, you could be missing out on the power of SMS notifications.
Gartner research has found that SMS open and response rates can be as high as 98% and 45%, respectively. In contrast, email open and response rates were just 20% and 6% respectively. Lenskart understood this well, and hence prioritised scaling SMS as part of their omnichannel growth strategy.
However, scaling SMS as a communication channel can be challenging because:
- If you partner with some non-Tier 1 aggregators, you may have lower SMS delivery rates because they don’t have direct connectivity to telco partners
- SMS phishing scams are on the rise. This means companies that use SMS communications as a channel need to work with a trustworthy telco or aggregator that implements anti-spoofing measures
- SMS campaigns can become expensive if a company works with aggregators in the middle that don’t have direct connectivity
For all the above reasons, scaling SMS particularly in regions like Southeast Asia where connectivity is fragmented, can be difficult.
Reviewing their SMS campaign requirements
Let’s review the situation Lenskart faced.
- They had ambitious regional and global expansion goals
- They knew they needed better SMS delivery rates to reach customers on their preferred channel
- They had to reach more customers in new markets via SMS whilst protecting their SMS with strong anti-spoofing measures
- They had to keep an eye on their SMS campaign costs
On weighing all their SMS campaign requirements, Lenskart realised they needed a partner with local cloud telco expertise to help scale SMS campaigns in line with their regional ambitions – and do this cost effectively. The problem was there weren’t many local-based providers in the space with sufficient telco connectivity.
Enter Toku’s SMS Campaign Manager.
Getting more value on SMS campaigns with Toku
With multiple product lines in different countries, and growth KPIs looming, Lenskart opted for Toku’s SMS Campaign Manager – a customised SMS campaign solution where Toku helps Lenskart send campaigns to the latter’s list. In addition, Toku helps Lenskart execute automated SMS campaigns.
Why did they choose Toku?
- Presence – Lenskart knew Toku has a strong presence in Southeast Asia, and is recognised by the local regulator as a Tier 1 Aggregator
- Trust – Toku is a trusted local aggregator compliant with all the local regulator’s telco requirements, including with respect to anti-spoofing protocols for protected SMS. This gave Lenskart peace of mind that their SMS channel would be protected against SMS phishing scams
- Effectiveness – Because Toku is a Tier 1 Aggregator, it is able to ensure high SMS deliverability and more competitive prices
In short, Toku offered much more value.
Lenskart has been able to make their SMS campaigns around 15% more cost-effective than what’s available on the market. And, because Toku is a licensed Tier 1 aggregator in Singapore with excellent regional connectivity, Lenskart now enjoys a high SMS delivery rate for their campaigns overall.
“For most cases, Toku has successfully kept the undelivered SMS rate to between 5-6%. This is a good number compared to other delivery rates I’ve seen in my experience. I think it’s because Toku has a better presence in Southeast Asia. That means they have better reach, and higher deliverability. And we are seeing that across our campaigns.”
Ajith Kumar, CRM Lead, SEA at Lenskart
Using SMS to reach more customers in Southeast Asia
Despite being in Singapore for less than a year and having to deal with a small population size, Lenskart has grown the business exponentially and shows no signs of stopping. It has stayed true to its comprehensive omnichannel approach that has disrupted the eyewear industry’s old business model requiring physical presence in-stores.
And, unlike some other digital-first retailers that choose to ditch SMS communications completely because ‘it’s old school,’ Lenskart is crystal clear that SMS will remain a key part of a seamless customer experience in Southeast Asia.
“SMS across Southeast Asia would be one of our key communication channels.”
Ajith Kumar, CRM Lead, SEA at Lenskart
The company is betting big on Indonesia and Vietnam’s fast-growing, tech-savvy middle class and is set to complete launches there in 2022.
The goal? To expand its network of physical stores across Southeast Asia to 75+ by end of 2022, from the current 20+. The opportunity for Lenskart is massive given that they are entering countries with populations 20 times bigger than Singapore’s. Even if the company grows at similar rates that they are growing in Singapore, the multiplication of the population’s base size for the new markets presents an attractive opportunity that cannot be ignored.
With its proven 3D augmented reality technology, strong omnichannel strategy, and relentless focus on seamless customer experiences, Lenskart is well positioned to corner the market and make its growth ambitions a reality.