Our industry insider this week is Bhavin Shah of Central Vision Opticians, Finchley. We chat to him about his upcoming in-store event, “Life is too short for boring glasses” and his experiences of running a marketing campaign as an independent retailer.


  1.       Can you please tell us about the “Life is too short for boring glasses” campaign?

We’re passionate about glasses! Over the past few years, we’ve noticed a trend for customers wanting to be more adventurous with their glasses, they realise that the right pair of frames can make a statement about who they are, their personality and individuality. People increasingly want eyewear that gets noticed. We love to help our customers find a pair of glasses that makes the right style and statement, we always find it rewarding to see them wearing specs that makes them feel great and look amazing. There has been an increase in independent frame designers who are embracing bolder styles and colours. It’s exciting to bring unique eyewear to customers who want to have an individual style. We love to get customers to experiment and see their pleasure in experiencing new shapes and colours that they wouldn’t have considered before and realise what a great pair of glasses can say about them.


  1.       What inspired you to launch a promotional campaign utilising an in-store event?

A few of our independent suppliers have a very extensive range of great specs. They were all so good that we couldn’t choose which ones to stock so we asked them to bring their entire collection and give our customers a chance to see them. We wanted make it a fun event and experience for our customers. Glasses have a significant tactile element. It’s amazing to hold them, touch them, the feeling when they’re worn and the way they look when worn. I believe this can only be experienced in physical store with people who have the passion for helping customers find the perfect pair for them.


  1.       What have you found to be the best methods of promoting your business as an independent retailer?

Providing a great customer experience and service essential, word of mouth is the most valuable form of promotion. Offering something unique and innovative helps to maintain customer loyalty and referrals. Our customers know that we’ll have something new and exciting for them to see. We have a very visual product so Instagram helps to get us noticed. We engage with other local independent businesses, influencers and the community to help raise our profile and credibility. Special events and campaigns help to raise awareness of our products and also the core values and vision of the company. Offering unique products and services help us to target specific users/customers for that offering, both offline and online.


  1.       How‘s your experience of running a multi-channel marketing campaign been so far? Any do’s and don’ts for other retailers out there?

Each channel has its own personality, target audience and users have a specific frame of mind when using the channel. You have a different state of mind when using Facebook compared to Twitter or Instagram. Understanding user behaviour for each channel is important when creating content. Retailers shouldn’t underestimate the effectiveness of using offline engagement to drive customers to social media and online marketing. Tell your offline customers to join your channels and engage with them in the same way you would in store. Customers appreciate that the business has real people working there.


  1.       If you could learn more about one area of marketing, what would it be?

It would be really helpful to learn more about how to engage with influencers. In addition to influencer marketing it would be great to learn about sales techniques for small retailers and ways to create an in-store experience that will help to increase customer loyalty.


  1.       Where can we find out more about the campaign and Central Vision Opticians, Finchley?

We have more information on our website: www.centralvisionopticians.co.uk or follow our Instagram @centralvisionopticians and what is even better, come and say hello in person at our event.