Specsavers Growth in Canada: A Conversation with Bill Moir

Specsavers recently celebrated a significant milestone: the opening of over 100 store locations, two years after entering the Canadian market.

Bill Moir, Managing Director of Specsavers Canada, reflects on this achievement, what this means for Canadians’ eye health, and Specsavers new commitment to care for one million Canadians in 2025.

What is driving Specsavers success in Canada?

Specsavers is a purpose-led business that is privately owned. Since we do not have to answer to shareholders, we can make long term decisions that prioritize the needs of partners, patients and customers. This results in excellent clinical care and an exceptional experience that our customers have come to expect from the brand. We are also a partnership business with over 2,500 healthcare businesses operating across the world. We know how to support our optometry and retail partners with their clinical and business needs so they can be successful in providing the best care possible.

Reflecting on 2023, what are you most proud of at Specsavers?

I’m most proud of our people – our partners, our colleagues and the broader Specsavers network who are working together towards the common goal of changing lives through better sight. Surpassing 100 locations in Canada stands out as a moment when we can reflect on our growth, which allows us to positively impact more Canadians and communities. I’m incredibly proud of the positive impact we’ve already had on people’s lives by carrying out over 250,000 eye exams with our network and providing 450,000 pairs of glasses across the year. We are already successfully operating in three provinces – British Columbia, Alberta and Ontario – and have announced plans to open our first locations in Manitoba this coming summer.

However, the Specsavers story is more than numbers. How we grow is equally important. We are focusing on people because we want Specsavers to have a great culture that is inclusive and driven by purpose. As a company, we achieved Great Place to Work® certification this year, with excellent ratings and positive feedback from our network and our customer service ratings are well ahead of the industry. Our locations are high volume, so we invest heavily in training and support for our opticians and optometrists.

In regard to business success, how has the expansion been going?

Throughout our expansion, our partners have seen tremendous success, with our locations averaging over $1.5 million in retail revenue during their first twelve months of operation and seeing over 100 customers a week. In fact, the first Specsavers in Canada, located on Vancouver Island, is forecasted to care for over 15,000 patients and customers in 2024 and achieve over $4.5 million in retail revenue – which is almost six times higher than before the location converted to a Specsavers business.

Our award-winning marketing has brought a lot of Canadians through our doors and now those patients and customers are referring family, friends and leaving great reviews. It’s incredibly rewarding to build a business on positive referrals. Canadians trust us, not only for their own eyecare and eyewear, but also for their loved ones.

Where do you see the business going in the next year? What about the next five years?

Less than a year and a half ago, there were 16 locations in Canada, all located in British Columbia. Fast forward to today and we’ve come a long way. Looking ahead, our vision goes beyond numbers. By 2025, we aim to care for over one million Canadians, emphasizing our dedication to providing quality eyecare and eyewear and changing lives through better sight.

Over the next five years, Specsavers will continue to expand into more communities. Currently, we fund the start-up costs for each new location; this will provide more partnership opportunities for optometrists, opticians and retail professionals to own a Specsavers business. We also encourage optometrists and opticians who have an existing business to still reach out to us about joining our network because we have a partnership that could work for them. But that’s not all. We will also continue to invest in technology that supports our optometry and retail partners as well as new brand collaborations and collections.

How do you feel Specsavers has worked towards its purpose of ‘changing lives through better sight’ in Canada?

Including Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) technology as part of the standard eye exam is pivotal to our purpose and commitment to community eye health. These 3D scans help optometrists spot any abnormalities and identify eye diseases in their earliest stages. Early detection is critical as 75 per cent of vision loss is preventable and treatable. We have invested heavily in making sure Canadians realize the importance of having regular eye exams with OCT.

We know that the cost of eyewear is a barrier for many Canadians who will put off an eye exam to delay the cost on an eyewear purchase. Having stylish, affordable eyewear that is high quality encourages Canadians to get eye exams regularly and even provides an opportunity to enjoy shopping for frames.



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