Lenstore was founded on 3rd January 2008 by Mitesh Patel, Oxford University graduate.
From friends, Mitesh learned that online ordering of contact lenses was very popular in other countries. It allowed customers to buy contact lenses at a lower price than offered by Opticians, and have them conveniently delivered to their door.
As a contact lenses wearer himself, Mitesh found the idea of selling (and buying!) contact lenses over the internet extremely attractive. The business model had clearly worked well in other countries and the industry was still in its infancy in the UK. The existing competition was seen to be relatively weak and there was a winning opportunity for an innovative, customer-centric online retailer to enter the marketplace.
The next 6 months were spent building the company’s infrastructure – recruiting a freelance web developer to create the website, securing supplier contracts and developing a solid marketing plan. There was a very strong focus on the customer from the inception, with a desire to offer the quickest, easiest and most convenient option for purchasing the same lenses bought from the Opticians, at a lower price.
The website was launched on 11th June 2008. Trading began from a small 80sq foot office, but the company saw fast growth right from the start, and orders were up to over 10 per day by 2nd July 2008. Lenstore’s first order milestone – the 1000th order was taken on 5th October 2008.
Over the next few years the business continued to push for growth. In 2010 the company moved into new, larger offices with a warehouse facility, to accommodate more staff and increased stock so that Lenstore could fulfil customers’ orders faster than any other competitor. An innovative Same Day Delivery service was launched on 24th July 2012. As the only business in the industry to offer this quality service Lenstore was able to stay ahead of the curve.
As a customer-centric business, there is a strong consciousness that people need optical advice between visits to their Optician. Lenstore addresses this through the availability of in-house Opticians to all customers by email, telephone or video conference calling.
An impressive business plan, fast, reliable delivery and a pro-active, customer-centric approach stimulated sales. Lenstore quickly outpaced existing competition and is amongst the largest ecommerce contact lens retailers in the UK today, stocking over 1 million lenses in over 200 products from popular brands.
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