General Optica has important brand recognition in the industry. Under the Mais Optica name, they are leaders in Spain and the reference optics in Portugal. In addition, they have a chain of optical centers with good professionals, products, services and guarantees. In conversation with Sergio Martinez, E-Commerce and Digital Transformation Department of General Ópticawe had the opportunity to learn more about the online shop and the payment methods offered in Spain and Portugal.
E-Commerce News (ECN): What are General Óptica’s recent milestones?
Sergio Martinez (HER): First of all, the milestones include digitization, which entails a complex and long process of cultural transformation of the company. The second milestone would be a phase of changing and introducing processes to make them more efficient and more targeted towards the end customer; We highlight the introduction of new distribution channels, in this case e-commerce is the one that would lead this, where we should see how it integrates and complements the current channels. The final milestone would be to use the information that the digital ecosystem gives us, such as data from Facebook and Google Analytics. Ultimately, it is information that you can provide to the rest of the General Óptica business.
EcN: How are the online and offline channels combined in General Optica’s strategy?
HER: We have created a perfect integration between the physical stores and the online store. At General Óptica, the assumption is that the customer is the same and changes according to his Trip. Our marketing strategies focus not so much on the customer as on the moment of purchase they are in.
One of the omnichannel strategies we have implemented is the service “Click and collect” to promote and prioritize collections in physical stores. We’ve also enabled returns for online purchases in stores, because that’s how we generate synergies and distort what we call the online customer. So returns are a gift for us. Every time there is a return, since it is upgraded and integrated into the physical store, it is a sales opportunity to be generated cross selling. On the other hand, we have also integrated deliveries from physical stores with one click.
E-commerce has grown a lot in recent years and each time they have followed a more solid strategy and in our case we have managed to become the website with the most traffic in Spain in the world of optics. The stationary trade has understood this and knows that common strategies must be sought. Additionally, the CTA people prefer when getting started with e-commerce is the product availability button in a physical store.
The e-commerce channel has become a perfect channel to attract new customers who have never bought from General Óptica before. More than 60% of the people who buy from us are new customers who have never bought from the company before.
EcN: How does your company stand in numbers? What volume of online orders do you have?
HER: Our company invoices more than 200 million euros. From a financial point of view, we have grown in recent years, not only in terms of invoice numbers, but also in terms of customers. From an online ordering perspective, e-commerce is still in a growth phase since its inception two and a half years ago. Today we are, so to speak, the main shop of all General Óptica branches in the sun category. As for the Graduates category, we recently put it online.
EcN: What marketing strategies do you use to increase online visibility?
HER: In terms of marketing strategies, we first promoted a content strategy focused on the different parts of the business funnel. The strategies we implement for consumers at the forefront of the market funnel They focus on the most generic keywords like sunglasses or prescription glasses, as well as branded content. And at the end of funnel in content more related to conversion. Therefore, from a visibility point of view, SEO is the most important thing that can be done in the company for us. On the other hand, we also encourage SEM and in the last part of the funnel we use all the tools we know today, from Google AdWords to Meta Ads.
EcN: We are in the process of taking care of the consumer. Do you have a loyalty strategy?
HER: The consumer has always been at the heart of General Óptica’s strategy. For many years we have had a paid Privilege program that offers great benefits to our customers; It currently costs 18 euros. A large proportion of General Óptica’s customers are included in this program as it grants them a series of guarantees such as breakage insurance.
EcN: What is the key aspect in your logistic process?
HER: The key aspect that we have in e-commerce is that we managed to intelligently integrate the warehouses of each of our 300 stores. On its own, each of the stores is a warehouse as there is stock there. We have a hub in San Fernando and have also been able to connect to the available inventory of each of our manufacturers. In this way we were able to optimize the delivery of the product in terms of time and money. In addition, we have increased the visibility of the products for sale to our customers.
EcN: What payment methods do you have? Which one do you use the most?
HER: The most common form of payment in Spain today is VISA. After that, the credit card would go through PayPal, which we don’t want to use in Spain either due to a commission problem.
EcN: You have Pepper to fund the payments. How does this work for you? What percentage of customers use it?
HER: Pepper works very well for us, we have integrated it in both physical and digital stores. If we compare it to a traditional financing method that any traditional financial institution could offer you, we bought time. Now we’re offering financing in less than two minutes, doubling the amount of financing in the physical world. Every time we come across a method like Pepper’s, we get higher tickets on average than without funding. In the online world we are at 8%, we want to increase and strengthen this aspect to 12%.
ECN: General Optica sold in Portugal. How do you manage payments in this country?
HER: In the case of Portugal, MB Way and MB Multibanco would be the most commonly used methods. These two are most commonly used as a differential. They were integrated in 2020-23, since then sales have increased by about 80%.
ECN: Future projects?
HER: In our future projects, the focus remains on our customer and getting to know them better and better. That’s why we’re implementing a new CRM tool that complements and improves on what we already had. Secondly, we want to understand and keep up with the entire digital customer, with a big focus on digitalization in physical stores.
On the other hand, we want to bring to the physical store all the analytics from the digital world, where we know what is happening with your user at all times.
And finally, let’s focus on the voice. We have focused on written research and how we deliver visual content to our clients. What we are currently investigating is the voice of how we can get our entire digital ecosystem to speak to our customers so that they no longer have to read and instead have to speak and interact with them.