Novacel, the big French laboratory controlled by Essilor, is offering ways to help opticians relaunch their business after the French government announced that it would be relaxing a Covid-19 related lockdown on May 11.

After having suspended its production, and not being able to supply clients for a more than a month due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Novacel reopened on April 23, offering marketing tools, discounts, tutorials and a reopening gift to its clients.

The company believes that post-lockdown restrictions compel opticians to change the way they manage client flows. To this effect, in mid-May it will set up a customizable virtual platform enabling opticians to organize appointments, while respecting rules on social-distancing.

Clients will be able to access the service via telephone or the internet. The service will include a hotline to answer queries. Novacel will cover 80 percent of the cost of the monthly subscription for the first 12 months.

Opticians are not used to managing appointments, according to Novacel’s general manager, Jenkiz Saillet, who noted that this kind of service has been in use in the medical sector for years.

In January, Novacel launched the marketing platform SMS Novacel, which it claims has been very successful. It is now offering 30 percent of free SMS extra for a package of 5,000 SMS, to opticians wishing to launch a marketing campaign up to the end of August.

During the week starting on May 11, the company will be offering 20 hygiene and protection products, such as face masks, sanitizer gel, UV sterilizers and hydrogen peroxide. The company claims that it does not plan to make a profit on this activity and that its core business remains selling lenses, contact lenses and equipment.

From May 4, it is offering new e-learning modules on its site Novacel University about using personal protection equipment, on Covid-19 and on legal responsibility regarding client management and the protection of staff.

Novacel is also offering contact lens solutions in flat bottles that can be delivered to the customer’s mailbox, in 250ml and 100ml versions, to allow users to continue to receive deliveries at home after May 11.

For the reopening of their stores, the company will offer to its clients a kit comprising masks, gel and wipes.