By Aimee Chanthadavong

It has been nearly six years since Specsavers first launched itself into the market as it saw the opportunity to fill gaps that existed in the "cottage" retail optics market.

Speaking at Retail 2013, Charles Hornor, Specsavers director of communications, said Australians were missing out on brands that were available elsewhere and at reasonable prices.

"Until 2007, Australians were missing out on products that were available elsewhere because all the other key players in the retail optic category all had the same products sold at roughly at the same price of $700; so there were no major differences," he said.

"So for us, our early success was driven mainly by bringing about something new to the marketplace. And the franchisors loved the products they were able to sell.

"Also our market research back then revealed surprisingly that consumers didn't realise they were paying too much. So we aimed at bringing new products at lower prices.

"So for us it was all about making sure we were able to offer great prices, great quality for great value."

Another core piece to Specsavers' business is its partnership model where each franchise has two owners: the optometrist and the retailer.

"We have an incredible group of franchise partners," Hornor said.

"But one of the greatest head scratcher then was finding people to run our stores. We ended up finding them sitting under our noses. In the optical world you had optometrists who often owned the store and retailers who'd work for them. But we approached these same people and asked them about how they felt if they owned 50 per cent of the business.

"We suddenly had an incredible rush of people. They also didn' have to do anything except to focus on their customers."

Specsavers now holds more than 30 per cent of market share, turning over $530 million in Australia and experienced like-for-like retail growth of 17 per cent in FY2013.