Posted by : Mukut Sarma
Wholesale business is always revolved around correct management of inventory & circulation of capital. Optical business is no exception to the same. The business demands huge capital investment in one hand but realization of profit is a big challenge because of multiple reasons. If you are a wholesale dealer of optical goods and deals in optical frames, sunglasses, lens, contact lens or optical accessories you must have navigated through facing multiple challenges to build your business. The covid crisis has altered the traditional way of carrying out wholesale optical business. I see the below changes happening in wholesale trade of optical business which is going to be a permanent feature in near future.
Digitalization of B2B Optical trade:
The whole world has witnessed the massive digitalization process in every business but strangely B2B market in optical trade has not received due attention from the industry. The opticians still prefer to buy product through traditional method after getting physical touch and ensuring quality of product. But most of the opticians are restricted to deal with very few suppliers as the sourcing of product is mostly based on the availability of the service of the supplier in the certain locality. Digitalization can help each optician to get access to multiple suppliers and to buy product as per their actual need and through single window and through single invoice. This also can ensure that whether an optician is buying optical frame in wholesale price or sunglasses in wholesale price, or contact lens in wholesale price, now will be able to procure product through digital method as per their adjact requirement but not as per the choice of a wholesaler. We at www.wearmyspex.com has come out with system and process to provide this kind of solution to opticians and B2B platform to wholesaler to get direct access to supplier without being physically present in the location.
Credit system to change:
The entire wholesale business is based on credit and no optician prefers to invest money on their inventory. They also have developed habit of clearing their dues only after selling significant number of stock bought from supplier. This created a huge burden on supplier in terms of sourcing product from manufactures, managing huge inventory, extending credit to market and take burden of bad debt. This always has negative impact on the ROI and realization of actual profit after meeting up regular expenses. The Covid crisis has massive impact on the normal circulation of capital, making suppliers compelled to stop extending further credit. Focus is now more on quick recovery. The industry must collectively come out with solution to extend credit channelizing the same through financial institutions. With digitalization of B2B supply chain, suppliers now can encourage optician to use credit cards and avail credit through EMIs instead of supplier itself. This can push huge liquidity in the system and can extend big relief of suppliers in terms of managing credit and realization of profit. We already has put this mechanism in place.
Collective Effort Instead of Individual Heroism:
The B2B suppliers now must realise the fact that the nature of crisis that the suppliers are facing is not personal or individualistic but global in nature and the entire humanity is affected. The process of recovery from the current scenario requires a holistic and collective approach where individual potential and capacities are synergized to come out with viable solution in handling issues like supply chain management, inventory management, credit management etc. Apart from Covid, there are challenges from big retail internet giants which has already eaten up significant shares of market of traditional opticians hence indirectly impacting the B2B supply as well.
Small Suppliers to get equal advantage as big:
You all must have observed the mushrooming of small wholesale suppliers who has taken over different online medium and reaching out to target customers either through whats app, facebook etc. They are working with limited inventory and with limited investment but making their presence feel among the opticians. Any traditional supplier must have good range of product with color, size, shape options to carry out wholesale selling offline but with online mode of business, supplier now can start business with limited inventory as most of the sales are through advance payment or through cash on delivery. This trend will continue to grow. We at www.wearmyspex.com also providing similar opportunity to small supplier to registered with us as supplier and start business with limited inventory. The buyers will never mind to buy from a small supplier provided good quality of products are offered at genuine cost as they have option to fulfill their cart by buying from multiple supplier at one go through single invoice. We nurture and help them to grow further as they are mentally prepared to adapt to changes and understand the power of internet.
The bottom line is, optical stores can not fully go online if supplier do not upgrade themselves. Supplier needs to provide them with good photographs of product, technical details so that they are equipped to reach out to consumer through both offline & online and sale not only to sustain but also to grow in their business.
Author: Mukut Sarma
Founder & Director