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GetLenses expands into Europe

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Leading UK contact lens retailer GetLenses has expanded into Europe, launching a site for the Italian market.

The launch comes in response to research showing that Italian customers are searching for contact lenses online.

The Italian site offers free local customer support, prices in euros, and follows Italy’s ecommerce rules – customers, for example, do not need to provide a prescription to buy contact lenses online, unlike the UK market.

Michael Kraftman, managing director of GetLenses, said: “The online contact lens market is not as established in Italy – it’s approximately a tenth the size of that in the UK – with many people still relying on smaller independent opticians. A less crowded marketplace, with fewer competitors, made sense for our first foray into mainland Europe. Given our highly competitive pricing and easy-to-use service, we expect to make quick headway in educating consumers on the savings that can be made online and establishing a strong Italian customer base.”

The expansion builds on GetLenses’ growth in the UK and Ireland, where it boasts sales of £6m a year, 100,000 active customers and growth of about 20% a year. The company will deliver its lenses to Italy from its York delivery hub and says it has the infrastructure in place to expand to other European markets.

“We’re pursuing a rapid, light-weight model for quick expansion,” said Kraftman. “We already have the infrastructure in place to post contact lenses out across Europe, so we have an enormous ability to scale up with demand from new markets. We’re planning to follow this same model to support further expansion in due course. Watch this space.”

GetLenses is running a pay-per-click campaign to build traffic to the new website and is about to start an affiliate marketing program.

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