We interviewed Óptica Ó
The latest crisis has shown that the online sale of products and services is the current market trend. Something that should have been established in the early 2000s.
Óptica Ó's Sales Manager, Mr. Bento Gonçalves, opens the doors for us in this interview.
- How did Mr. Bento Gonçalves become an employee of Óptica Ó? What would you highlight from your business experience?
I would highlight the experience that has given me a multitude of positions and sectors where I have worked, from an advertising delivery man, an administrative worker, a salesperson in a shopping center to the owner of several businesses, many of them closed, and I do not take it as failure, but as experience , learning and starting over. When you fall, you have to get up and continue, even if it happens a million times. It is the attitude that makes you different and achieve success.
- What has been the evolution in terms of products and/or services since Óptica Ó was inaugurated?
Our optician began in Portugal, in the city of Lisbon in 2011, selling locally only sunglasses over the internet, saving costs in renting an establishment that the market would have forced us to locate in the city center in order to carry out sales. After several years positioning ourselves through word of mouth and without social networks, we began to obtain benefits by discreetly positioning ourselves in the Portuguese market. After the Covid earthquake in 2020, we had to paralyze everything, evaluate the situation, make important decisions and take risks, which has led us to change internet domain, redesign the online store from scratch, create a new website (these the last two have been in development since June 2021), creating social networks (facebook, twitter, instagram and youtube), and extrapolating the entire online business from Portugal to Spain, locating us in Malaga.
- Name some outstanding products / services in this year 2021
Expand the range of products from selling only sunglasses, to now selling sunglasses, frames for prescription glasses, children's sunglasses and masks for sports such as skiing, snowboarding and motocross. As a remarkable service, we distribute all our articles free of charge to all of Portugal and Spain.
- Looking at the customer's pocket, are your products/services solvent? That is, what benefits do they pass on to the customer so that they are amortizable?
In addition to the fact that the shipping costs are totally free, the glasses are 100% original, we are official distributors of all the brands that we publish, and as such, these brands offer a 2-year guarantee by presenting our purchase invoice.
- What was the reason why you decided to have the Spanish headquarters in Malaga and not in typical cities like Madrid or Barcelona?
We were also weighing Madrid and Barcelona, cities like Valencia, Seville, Zaragoza and Malaga. After studying the population, the competition, the commercial geostrategic situation, the synergies and business agreements in the optics, optometry and ophthalmology sector, the training and experience of future employees, and of course the investment, choosing Malaga. Once the city was chosen, we studied all the business centers in the province that best suited our needs and the business services they offered, as well as speed and quality of customer service, choosing Picasso Business Center to establish our company in Spain.
- What are the main challenges for Óptica Ó for 2022?
Reestablish ourselves after this great postcovid reset in Portugal, and make a place for ourselves in the demanding Spanish market. We are looking askance at the Moroccan market, Morocco is a very sunny country whose population is increasingly aware of eye protection both from the sun and from frequent sand storms. We also want to offer free insurance for breakage to all our glasses, we are studying and negotiating with insurance companies. In addition to introducing more innovative services and products that complement the customer's purchase, standing out from the competition. We are very creative and we will be the first to offer novelties in the world optical market. Stay tuned to our social networks and website.
- As the Sales Manager at Óptica Ó, is there a risk of being less willing to take big risks? Maybe you don't want to put your career in jeopardy and, you know, that forces you to act more defensively, not risk?
The day I am least willing to take risks, I will be fired, and ... honestly, I would be very bored having to look for a job. My bosses know that without risk there is no success, it is one of the key ideas of the company.
" Before you bought sunglasses for many years, now you buy sunglasses for every occasion. Glasses are ties or watches for a suit, bags or shoes for a dress. Each model of glasses marries a way of dressing. "
- Online sales, is it a relevant source of income?
Very much, it is very important, ask Jeff Bezos (owner of Amazon), not only do we sell more than many classic opticians located on the street and that have nothing on the internet, but if we did not have online sales, we would not exist.
- From your experience, how has online selling changed from the 90s to now?
In creativity and imagination, in the study and evolution of neuromarketing, in shaping a product or service based on people's tastes, not like many people who think they are being deceived, that does not exist. You cannot deceive a loyal customer, you may be deceived once, but that deceived customer you have already lost, and they give you bad opinions and that does not interest our company, Óptica Ó wants loyal and faithful customers, who always buy their products and repeat. The current market no longer buy glasses for many years, now people buy several glasses depending on what occasion: sunglasses for driving, sunglasses for a wedding, sunglasses for the beach or pool, sunglasses for practice sports, dance sunglasses, work sunglasses, indoor or disco sunglasses almost transparent, etc. People are not stupid, they are very well informed, and more so with the internet, google, youtube and social networks. The public knows what it wants and demands it. Companies are the ones that must mold their products to their customers, that is why the behavior of their customers is studied, attention and direct treatment are personalized, products and services are personalized, and that cannot be done by a machine with algorithms . Creativity and imagination are only available to humans, not machines.
- Specifically on the internet, what measures or decisions taken do you think have been the most important for your company?
The total renovation of image, services and products that we have carried out throughout 2020, without a doubt. The covid crash has made many businesses disappear, create new ones, and renew many others, including us, who, as I mentioned before, changed our internet domain to www.oticao.pt, we are in the process of totally redesigning the online store both in Portugal and in Spain, double work, so you will see that there are very few glasses in our virtual showcase, which does not mean that we barely sell, our regular customers request brand and model through email, and we indicate them in less than 24 hours price, selling by email without a shopping cart until we have completed the online store with more than 15000 references and 85 brands with which we distribute throughout these 10 years, we are also in the process of designing the website, and gradually creating social networks (facebook, twitter, instagram and youtube), in addition to duplicating the entire online business in Spain, with spanish domain www.opticao.es.
- We have seen many entrepreneurs who maintain their traditional physical stores but also suffer from improving their web presence and getting the public to buy on both channels. What does Óptica Ó do that other opticians don't? Why do you think other optics seem to have such problems?
I think that other optical stores with physical stores have problems for their public to buy online because many entrepreneurs think that selling online is like installing one more cash register, and it is not like that, the most successful similarity would be like setting up a branch in a different city. If they get the idea that having an online business is like having another physical store in a different city, then they will hardly have problems, since they will hire staff to delegate that branch online, from a computer scientist, through a community manager, an order manager, logistics manager, etc. What's more, if you hire a single person to do all the tasks of an online business at the same time, you will have many, many problems. In a physical store, a store manager manages a store, does not do sales duties, customer service, store maintenance, fixes flaws and breakdowns, etc. Would you go crazy or need to work 120 hours a week.
- When you think about the products/services you sell, what has surprised you lately in terms of popularity? Where do you think your industry is going? That is, how do you think the products/services you sell today will change in five years?
The optics industry has changed since 2014, now both sunglasses and prescription lens frames are a fashion accessory focused on style and professionalism. Before you bought sunglasses for many years, now you buy sunglasses for every occasion. Glasses are ties or watches for a suit, bags or shoes for a dress. Each model of glasses marries a way of dressing. Aesthetics is the north of the sector.
- As a resident of our business center in Malaga, what is your way of working like?
Some like me telecommute from Lisbon, we have staff both in Portugal and residents in Spain who serve the customer by phone, process emails and manage online orders made from oticao.pt and opticao.es, as well as logistics management, orders to factories, marketing, quality and after-sales management. We take great care of the customer: the consumer of glasses.
- We have talked about the shipping costs that are free, the guarantee that is two years, the glasses that are homologated by the European CE regulations, 100% original and that are official distributors of the main brands in the international market. Tell us about shipments, returns and the online purchase process.
Indeed, shipping costs to the entire Iberian Peninsula (Portugal and Spain) are free. By law, the customer has a two-year warranty for manufacturing defects, offered by the manufacturer of the glasses upon presentation of our invoice. As official distributors, all glasses are 100% original, approved by the CE with the highest European quality guarantees and protection for the eyes of our customers.
All glasses carry the "CE" marking of European conformity in an indelible way, the identification of the manufacturer and the reference of the model. All glasses are free of sharp edges and roughness as well as structural stability, we carefully and manually check them before sending them to the customer. The lenses are free of scratches, streaks, bubbles, fissures, irregularities and deformations. The lenses have mechanical resistance to breakage, impacts and stability against heat. The lenses are of zero power, optically neutral, that is, without graduation and do not present prismatic effects (optical deviations). The lenses' sunscreen category 1 to 4 (amount of light absorption) is indelibly marked on the rods and/or on the lenses. The lenses filter or eliminate harmful UV radiation below 400nm. Each goggle is accompanied by a brochure or user instructions. If in the manual review before sending the order to the customer, any glasses do not meet these property and quality standards, they are returned to the factory.
There are no magic formulas in the corporate capitalist world and our client knows it, we work with a very small stock and we place orders directly from the factories of the main brands, skipping wholesalers, international distributors and intermediaries to offer very competitive prices while preserving quality. All this takes more time in the delivery process since the order is placed. Time for low prices while maintaining the highest european quality standards: UV protection is guaranteed, we take public health very seriously.
As for shipments, we make them through a private courier company with a tracking code, with special boxes for glasses and shockproof protection. Only international orders to Europe, Africa, America, Asia and Oceania are made through the certified national postal service, also with a tracking code. All the islands of Portugal and Spain, as well as Ceuta, Melilla and Andorra are made through the certified national postal service.
Returns by law, the client has the right to a period of 14 days to be able to return the glasses, as long as he previously sends us a return request so that the customer service department indicates the steps to take to return them and that the amount paid be reimbursed. It is very important that the item, once received at our logistics headquarters, and after a meticulous inspection process, is as it was sent, both the glasses and the boxes and packaging, we are very strict in this, so that said item can to be sold again to a customer with the maximum guarantees and quality conditions provided that it does not have manufacturing defects.
In the online purchase process. Both our website, blog and online store use the TLS 1.2 security certificate with SHA-256 protocol and RSA 2048-Bit encryption for the peace of mind and protection of our customers, surpassing many banks in security and encryption, complying well above the International Computer Security Standards according to the UNE-ISO/IEC 27001:2014 Standard for Information Security Management Systems (ISMS), the National Cybersecurity Center of Portugal (CNCS) and the National Cybersecurity Institute of Spain (INCIBE) being the encrypted data that the user receives on his computer and the data that he sends us through the contact forms before being transmitted over the Internet. At Óptica Ó we protect our clients' data.
As for the banking and financial details of our clients, we do not have access to them. We work with the prestigious international payment platform PayPalⓇ to which we redirect from the shopping cart accepting credit and debit cards MastercardⓇ, VisaⓇ and American ExpressⓇ, the payment process being carried out independently of Óptica Ó, once the payment process is finished, PayPalⓇ redirects the customer to our online store. As I mentioned before, the online store is in a continuous process of registering glasses models, if the customer wants to buy glasses that are not registered in our online store, they can buy them by email and a PayPalⓇ payment link will be sent.
And finally the treatment of the personal data of our clients for the shipment of the glasses. We are rigorously supervised and we comply with the security and data protection protocols (European General Data Protection Regulation GDPR, California Consumer Privacy Law of 2018 CA-AB-375 CCPA, having the client more legislative information in the legal notices of our website www.opticao.es) according to the regulations of the Spanish Agency for Data Protection (AEPD), the Autoritat Catalana de Protecció de Dades, the Datuak Babesteko Euskal Bulegoa, the Ministry of Justice of Spain, the Registry of Companies of Distance Selling of Spain (REVAD), the General Directorate of Internal Trade of the Ministry of Industry, Tourism and Trade of Spain and the Government of Spain, the Portuguese National Commission for Data Protection and the Government of Portugal, the European Parliament and the Council and Government of Europe, the UK Information Commissioner's Office (ICO), the UK Department for Media, Culture and Sport and the Government of His Majesty of the United Kingdom, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) of the United States of America, the Consumer Protection Agency of the Nation of the United States of America, the Department of Justice of the United States of America and the Government of the United States of America, the Council for Transparency of Chile and the Government of Chile, the National Institute of Transparency, Access to Information and Protection of Personal Data of Mexico and the Government of Mexico, and the Government of the Republic of Rwanda.
- Mr. Gonçalves, impressive. Congratulations on enjoying your virtual office as a Picasso Business Center customer, and thank you very much for your time.