What exactly do you need to start an online business that can work and actually work great? For Lensa.ro, the recipe included to young guys – a code master and a figures guru. Both of them started out knowing that in such a traditionally offline area, like optics, focusing on the client and on services is essential to reach success. They have also brought from home significant amounts of courage and ambition and now they pass from one year to another, doubling their sales.
We talked to Daniel Craciun, one of the two co-founders of this shop and he told us more about how they started, what it means to educate the public, what is their view on affiliate marketing and also how they became the first official Ray-Ban partners in Romania.
1. How was Lensa born? How did you get the name idea? How long did it take to launch the website?
Lensa.ro was bought on 28th May 2013 and we started out in June 2013. I think it took about 1-2 weeks until the website was up. I built it 🙂 . Thinking about a name, we used Google Translate to see what “lens” is in different languages and we got to Indonesian, which is “lensa”. 🙂 . I thought it sounded cool and we bought the domain.
2. How any people are behind this online store?
Right now, we are a team of 15 people.
3. Who are the captains of this ship 🙂 ?
This ship is sailed by me (Daniel) and my associate (Florin Nita). I am a web developer (since I was 16) and I had my first company when I was 18. I had several companies, but I don’t think that’s relevant.
Florin was an executive for 8 years for Honda Trading Romania.
I am in charge of the technical part while Florin is managing the budget, the planning.
4. What is Lensa’s strong feature?
Our strongest feature is that we really focus on customers. We are doing everything possible to have them all happy, to give them that WOW experience. We also do everything on fast forward (delivery, customer calls, etc).
5. What is the best selling product category?
It depends on seasonality. If you ask about now, I can tell you it’s Sunglasses.
6. Some people try on tens of sunglasses to see which looks best on them. What online solution is there for this and mostly what online solutions do you offer?
We are about to add an online sunglass matching tool. For now we offer as many pictures as possible and recently, we have encouraged customers to upload their pictures with the products they bought from us and we reward them with a gift voucher. We also try to offer customers as much relevant information as possible.
7. What is the biggest challenge these days?
The biggest challenge these days is to educate the offline customers to go and buy online. A lot of them have different fears: frames may not be good, sunglasses size may not be right, etc. We are providing as much information as possible to help customers make the best decision.
8. How have you decided to start an affiliate program?
Hmm, good question. I had been reading online about the marketing mix and realized it is not wise to keep all your eggs in the same basket. Therefore I have decided to try this promotion channel as well.
9. What is the most important thing about an affiliate? What are you checking before accepting him/her in your program?
We accept all affiliates. We do have a special relationship with some of them, that is true. But that has only happend because both sides were really open. It is very important that an affiliate is well intended and trustworthy. And it goes both ways.
10. How could you describe a good win-win collaboration with an affiliate?
I think it should be very open and transparent. The affiliate should have real time or weekly access to some reports (maybe from Analytics) so they can see how they could improve. If the affiliate has good results, so does the advertiser. Win-win.
11. How much time do you spend for the affiliate program?
About an hour a day.
12. What is the best selling product in your affiliate program?
13. If you were to be an affiliate for Lensa, what would you do, what would you focus on and what expectations would you have from the advertiser?
I would like to receive fast answers to my questions regarding any campaigns I am preparing, I would like the advertiser to approve commissions fast and to help me understand the business better. This way I would be more efficient and we would both win.
14. An interesting story about Lensa? 🙂
When we saw the Ray-Ban sign in Milan, by chance, on the Luxottica building, we had already failed in contacting their Hungarian branch. So we just entered the building and said we want to become a Ray-Ban dealer and we want to talk to someone. The receptionist was very surprised, but then she gave us a contact number. Starting from here, we have managed to get into contact with Ray-Ban when we got back and after a lot of presentations and negotiotions, we got to be the first online store that Ray-Ban accepted as partner. Today we are one of the two Romanian Ray-Ban Certified Dealer sites and we are also listed on www.Ray-Ban.com
If you also want to promote the high quality products of an online store that puts the customer services first, that means you have a very healthy business sense and you are ready to generate some pretty nice commissions in your affiliate account.
Still don’t really know how you could earn money by promoting Lensa.ro? Find out more HERE about how you could so affiliate marketing!