Dame Mary Perkins on making cost a USP at Specsavers [Video]

The Specsavers' founder on why she chose to make low prices the business' USP

Dame Mary Perkins says “it’s really important for a new start-up to have a USP, you have to differentiate yourself from the competition… it’s no good copying… a major player, that’s just not going to work”.

Perkins USP was simple: “glasses were too expensive”, so she decided to “bring the prices down without giving up the quality by bypassing the wholesalers and going straight to the factories.

She also knew that times had changed and “people wanted to be more involved in fashion and take their time choosing what they were going to wear”, so she created showrooms “that people could walk into”.

The pricing system was unclear and “needed to be more transparent, it needed to be clear, it needed to be simple”, so she made sure “prices were very clearly marked on all the products to include the price of the lenses”.

At the time, people with “really bad eyes… paid a lot more for… lenses”, and although “people said it couldn’t be done”, the entrepreneur decided “everybody should have paid the same for their lenses whether they had a weak prescription or a high prescription”.

Disrupting an industry can be as making very small changes to improve operational issues or customer service, even if you are “laughed at”.

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