1. The optical stores typically display many glasses under a counter, and the store itself is filled with ads and signage with white, displeasing ambience;
2. Customers cannot try on glasses freely as they require staff to help;
3. Glasses carried are from Western brands, with the majority not designed for Asians;
4. Pricing is not transparent and simple. Usually, lens choices are confusing and not included in frame prices, plus complex promos are designed to make customers spend more, not save;
5. The processing time to install lenses can take three to five days and require customers to come back to pick them up;
6. Minimal return policies or warranties.
Saturdays redefined the offline shopping experience with glasses displayed in a modern cafe. Customers only need to wait 30 minutes for lens installation, and we offer free customers coffee while they wait.
IR: Tell me about how you’re blending Saturdays’ stores with cafes and why they’re called lifestyle stores.
RS: We aspire to provide an unmatched experience for customers who have been accustomed to shopping for eyewear in dull and conventional manners. Saturday is the favourite day of the week for most people as they spend time with their loved ones, exercise, sleep and be themselves. We want to create a lasting impression from online and offline channels through lifestyle stores concept by offering Arabica coffee and fresh-baked cookies in a modern cafe setting where people can hang out and feel like it’s Saturday any day of the week. We also provide special food and beverage promos to #CitizensOfSaturdays — people who wear our glasses — so they can bring their loved ones and hang out at our store.
IR: How would you describe Saturdays’ omnichannel strategy?
RS: Saturdays’ tech-enabled omnichannel strategy focuses on channels where we can better control the customer experience, such as our own stores, website, app, chat and home try-on. While we are inspired by the US-based unicorn and eyewear brand Warby Parker, the need to localise our products and experience is a must. We provide fresh and unique ways to shop for eyewear:
- Our stores blend eyewear in a modern cafe that serves Arabica coffee and fresh-baked artisan cookies. We operate eight stores in Jakarta and plan to expand to more Indonesian cities;
- Our home try-on service offers an in-store experience but in the convenience of the customer’s home;
- Our customers also engage with us through chat to help purchase, assist in home try-on bookings, and answer any questions.
IR: Tell me about the new mobile app and the new home try-on service.
RS: Saturdays has been leading the direct-to-consumer (DTC) revolution in Indonesia since introducing its eyewear in 2016. Our new mobile app is the first of its kind in our industry, and it provides an integrated online-to-offline (O2O) shopping experience for customers. The app showcases our full collections, so customers can shop, save frames to a wishlist, try them on virtually, purchase with multiple payment options (including buy now pay later), and pick up in-store.
Saturdays also pioneered the home try-on service across Indonesia, and we provide a seamless booking experience through the app. Customers can pick 10 frames of their choice to try, book an appointment and select a speciality coffee, all for free! Our licensed opticians will bring the frames and administer a vision test from the comfort of the customers’ own home.
IR: How would you describe the current eyewear market and the competitive landscape? Traditionally, it’s been monopolised by a few large companies, but in recent years, DTC brands have begun competing with them.
RS: The eyewear market is dominated by a single global company that has been able to keep prices unreasonably high and earn huge profits from customers. A few large optical players in Indonesia mainly distribute brands from this company, leaving customers with few options. Saturdays is the first brand in Indonesia to offer premium quality yet affordable eyewear designed in-house to fit and look great for Asian features. We use the best materials, such as Italian acetate and Japanese titanium, to craft eyewear that is authentic and affordable (starting at Rp1.295.000 including prescription lenses).
The DTC eyewear market is still nascent and highly fragmented in Indonesia. We see that no-one else offers the same mix of omnichannel experience and premium quality yet affordable eyewear designed for the local market. We aim to be the dominant eyewear brand in Indonesia, and the one customers continue to shop at again and again.
IR: Last year, Saturdays received some investment. Can you tell me about your plans for the extra funding?
RS: In 2020, Saturdays received early-stage funding from local and regional venture capital firms Alpha JWC Ventures, Kinesys Group and AltoPartners to accelerate expansion and strengthen our tech-enabled omnichannel experience.
IR: What are your plans for Saturdays this year? Do you have any plans in the works for local and international expansion?
RS: Saturdays aims to elevate the eyewear game further and bring an integrated and seamless O2O shopping experience to Indonesian customers. We will add more exciting features to our app in the coming months while also expanding our lifestyle stores concept to more Indonesian cities.
This article was originally published in the Asian Retail Outlook 2021, sponsored by Salesforce. You can download the report here.