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Pearle Bril Plan: from rough sketch to fully rolled out subscription model in 9 months

  • Leading global optical retailer GrandVision was looking for new ways to support its mission to provide everyone with the experience of optimal vision 

  • The retailer responded to the need to shift from ownership to Product as a Service 

  • The Innovation Lab approach was used to develop and test the new subscription-based business model and customer proposition  

  • The proposition was rolled out and is now live in all Pearle stores in the Netherlands 

At a glance: 

GrandVision offers its customers expert eyecare services along with a large selection of unique and stylish prescription eyeglasses, sunglasses, contact lenses and eyecare products. GrandVision Benelux wanted to develop new ways to support its mission to provide everyone with the experience of optimal vision, ensuring perfect sight and a great look, always and in any situation. 

The strategic initiative was formulated in response to a broader shift from ownership to Product as a Service. Although it was a perfect fit with GrandVision’s mission, it was extremely challenging in a saturated and very traditional optical market. This market is so traditional that even past Covid lockdowns did not change customer behavior or business models. 

Innovation Lab approach to create a new customer proposition 

Pearle comes from years of great performance and is the market leader. Therefore, it aimed to remain focused on the existing business and its high service standards while introducing innovation. Thus, it was crucial to organize innovation outside business as usual with a small and dedicated team. Together, GrandVision and IG&H built the new customer proposition using our Innovation Lab approach: (1) Discover, (2) Validate, (3) Accelerate and (4) Grow. 

The key principle behind this approach is to structure innovation by being creative and customer-focused while identifying underlying critical assumptions. Next is testing these assumptions as soon as possible in practice with ‘live customers’ and ‘live employees’ to reduce innovation risk and adapt where needed. This structured approach allows you to lower risks that are inherently linked to innovation and disruption. 

IG&H supported GrandVision to achieve excellent results in the different phases of the project: from idea development and formulation of the design to testing and rollout of the new proposition in the stores. During the Accelerate phase of Pearle Bril Plan, we grew the project team to become a close representation of business as usual (retail, marketing, training, finance, IT, franchise) and started tackling potential implementation pitfalls.


“IG&H has a unique market position. Make Strategy Work really fits with IG&H and the people they employ. Not only giving advice but taking ownership of results as well. I feel we go side-by-side in realizing our strategic agenda and making these innovations successful.” 

Jan-Derek Groenendaal | Managing Director at GrandVision Benelux


Maximizing value (commercial potential) and minimizing innovation risk

New key performance indicators were used to drive decisions. When developing (variations of) customer propositions we used two key measures to evaluate and guide decision-making: the ‘expected return’ and the ‘innovation risk’. This is an iterative process. On the one hand, it revolves around improving potential returns by finetuning the value proposition and formulating critical hypotheses. On the other hand, it focuses on validating these hypotheses with many (small-scale) experiments. Both measures always consider desirability, viability and feasibility. The innovation process begins by focusing on desirability: Does the market want this idea?

This structured and quantitative design approach creates a setup that guarantees successful innovation and enables an explicit trade-off between filling in customer needs-wants and financial returns. We were able to develop the ideas and objectively select the best one to implement.

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Would you like to learn more?

You can reach out to:

Marcel Hälsig

Director Retail

T: +31652447391


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