Extremely buoyant business due to the aging population, optics retail is one of the most dynamic markets, attracting many entrepreneurs.

Do you want to open an optical store? You knocked on the right door! Whether you are starting a sunglass kiosk in a shopping mall or open an optical shop on the street, In this article, you will find advice on 4 essential steps that you will need to take to complete your project.

optical shop design

#1. Market research in the optical retail business

To create an optical store in good conditions, it is essential to start by carrying out a market study of the sector to verify the commercial viability of your project and define the commercial strategy to be adopted.

Questions to ask yourself when researching an optical store

Market research is an opportunity to take an interest in the purchasing behavior of your future customers, the significant trends in the sector, and your competitive environment.

In order to make sure that there is commercial potential in the planned establishment area, you will need to ask yourself the following questions:

  • What are the optical needs within each age group? Does the demographic profile of the population living near the settlement area suggest an attractive commercial potential?
  • What criteria are taken into account when choosing an optical store? Suggested choice, price, advice dimension, etc.
  • How often do customers buy? What is their budget?
  • How many competitors are already established in the city where you plan to settle?
  • Are your competitor's independent stores or branded stores?
  • Is the local market large enough to accommodate a new entrant?
  • How will you set yourself apart from your competition and gain a foothold in the local market?
  • How to communicate to reach your commercial target?

Find More: Modern Attractive Optical Store Interior Design

The optical market in Europe

Increase in myopia, aging of the population, generalization of connected media, greater attention to health. A multitude of factors explains the dynamism of the optical sector. In 2015, the market weighed more than 6.5 billion euros for just over 12,500 points of sale. In addition, in 10 years, the number of stores has increased by 35.7%.

Nonetheless, these excellent figures cause a commercial over-density: competition is raging, and opticians must stand out by offering innovative concepts and having a solid identity. More and more of them are also diversifying by also selling hearing aids or connected objects.

The liberalization of the optical market on the Internet, with many sites offering corrective glasses or contact lenses at a desirable price positioning (up to 70% cheaper than in stores), intensifies competitive and price pressures.

We also note that the entry into force of the cap on the coverage of optical costs by mutuals (470 euros for simple lenses, 850 euros for complex lenses, 150 euros for frames, once every two years instead of once a year) has had a substantial impact on the sector, even if the margins of optical stores remain comfortable.

The sector is shared between 4 major types of actors:

  • Self-employed persons not attached to a network represent almost half of the sector's points of sale, but only a quarter of the total turnover.
  • Cooperative groups: these are stores belonging to the same central purchasing body, such as Optic 2000, Krys, and Atol. They represent 35% of optical stores and account for nearly 30% of the sector's turnover.
  • Franchise networks: the best known are Alain Afflelou and Générale d'Optique. They represent less than 20% of points of sale but capture nearly 30% of the optical market in terms of value.
  • Mutualist networks: these are networks of approved opticians with which mutuals negotiate rates and determine the conditions of coverage. These points of sale represent less than 10% of the optical market.

#2. What are the legal docs needed to open an optical store?

The next step in setting up an optical store is to choose a legal status for your business: this is an essential step because it is a decision that will have an influence both on your business, but also on your personal life.

In fact, the choice of legal status will condition in particular:

  • The method of taxation of the company: corporate tax or income tax
  • Your social security regime as a manager: self-employed or general regime
  • Your liability for the company's debts: limited to contributions or unlimited
  • The administrative formalities to be completed: at the time of creation and after

#3. Write the business plan for an optical store

To open the optician of your dreams, you must go through the French case business plan or business plan.

The business plan of an optical store is a detailed document in which you will present your project in a structured, argued, and costed manner.

Schematically, the business plan of an optical store has two main parts:

  • A written part is used to present, highlight, and convince your financial and commercial partners of your project's strengths.
  • An economic forecast highlighting the need for initial financing and the profitability potential of your business
  • Form A detailed plan for choosing store fixtures and shopfitting for your optical store.

Writing the business plan will allow you to take stock of your project and ensure its financial viability. The business plan will also be essential for you to present your project to bankers and potential investors, who will use it to decide whether or not to grant you the precious funds necessary to launch your project.

#4. Gather the necessary funding to open an optical store

Once your optician business plan has been drafted, you can move on to the last step in creating an optical store: finding financing.

First of all, you should know that opening an optical store without a contribution is not easy. Indeed, if the banks can grant you a loan to finance part of the purchases of equipment and stock, they will nevertheless ask you to have a minimum of personal contribution.

As an indication, the personal contribution requested by franchisors for the opening of an optical store generally varies from € 30,000 to € 130,000.

Once the question of the personal contribution is settled, you will have to study the different financing possibilities available to you to raise the necessary sum for the opening of your store:

  • Banks and credit institutions
  • Crowdfunding platforms
  • Public bodies
  • Aid for business creation

We hope this article has given you a better understanding of how to open an optical store. If you are opening an optical store and looking for optical store fixures, welcome to visit Ant Display. Whether you need shelving units, frame display racks, glass showcase, and frame display pods, you will have the best work here. 

Do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions.