ZEISS Vision Care: Driving more in-store traffic with Google Maps Platform

About Zeiss

ZEISS is an internationally leading technology brand operating in the fields of optics and optoelectronics. ZEISS Vision Care manufactures precision lenses and optometric instruments and works with a global network of independent premium vision care partners.

Industries: Retail & Consumer Goods
Location: Germany

About Maplicate

Maplicate is a Premier Google Maps Partner. The company plans, realizes, maintains, and supports customized applications and infrastructure

ZEISS Vision Care drives in-store traffic and personalization with a store locator powered by Google Maps Platform while leveraging rich Google My Business data for its branded vision centers and retail optometry partners.

Google Cloud results

  • Improves customer experience with state-of-the-art store locator through Google Maps Platform
  • Provides advertising and store performance insights including calls and offline store visits as a result of marketing investment
  • Optimizes time to market, halving the time it takes to onboard new countries and stores
  • Reduces maintenance costs with Google Maps Platform and Google Cloud-based omnichannel store locator
  • Shares features and high quality data across own websites and Google properties for a global, holistic mapping solution

Rich maps and business data for thousands of opticians

A new pair of glasses can do more than just correct vision problems; it’s also a way to express personal style. Whether someone is getting their very first pair of glasses or frequently adds new eyewear to their wardrobe, they need the best possible fit for their particular vision, lifestyle, face, and fashion sense. ZEISS Vision Care meets these customer expectations with professional optical technology and custom crafted lenses offered through a global network of vision care partners.

ZEISS Vision Care aims to provide leading ophthalmic instruments for diagnosing vision problems, developing and manufacturing lenses to correct them, and fitting those lenses to frames chosen by the customer. But some customers didn’t realize that the quality lenses they were buying were powered by ZEISS technology. This meant that ZEISS was unable to maximize brand loyalty to drive traffic to stores.

“Google Maps Platform helps ZEISS Vision Care to offer a consistent user experience. Customers don’t buy new glasses every day, so we need to offer intuitive experiences that need no learning curve. The familiar Google Maps interface ensures that consumers have a great experience all the way through.”

Martin Dominicus, Head of Global Digital Marketing, ZEISS Vision Care

As one of the measures to solve this, the company decided to build an innovative store locator that would focus not only on helping customers to find opticians close to them, but would offer a branded customer experience at every step of the buyer’s journey. ZEISS stands for innovation, precision, and the highest quality; this should also be reflected in the whole customer journey. As a digital state-of-the-art tool, the store locator helps to create this premium experience as it seamlessly connects each step of the customer journey. The tool is a service for eyeglass lens buyers that, together with other apps, such as the product recommendation engine My Vision Profile, intuitively connects the digital to the physical world.

“Google Maps Platform helps ZEISS Vision Care to offer a consistent user experience,'' says Martin Dominicus, the company’s Head of Global Digital Marketing. “Consumers don’t buy new glasses every day, so we need to offer intuitive experiences that need no learning curve. The familiar Google Maps interface ensures that consumers have a great experience all the way through, even utilizing in-depth information on each optical store.”

Building a better store locator with Google Maps Platform and Google My Business

The earlier store locator was no longer up to the standards that the ZEISS Vision Care team expected for the brand. This created a sense of urgency for taking a big leap forward. The team contacted Google Maps Premier Partner Maplicate to find out how it could leverage Google Maps Platform to drive online traffic into stores and improve the customer experience.

ZEISS store

Maplicate offered a store locator product based on Google Maps Platform and Google Cloud that provides a consistent customer experience across ZEISS Vision Care branded and partner websites. The tool also incorporates advanced Google Maps Platform features and leverages Google My Business for additional services for both customers and opticians. The result is one centrally managed platform that has been rolled out to more than 50 markets and displays tens of thousands of opticians around the world.

Martin notes that the solution proposed by Maplicate ticked every box on his wishlist. The richness of data available, including location, images, opening hours, directions, reviews, and geocoding quickly captured his team’s attention.

The new ZEISS Vision Care store locator incorporates advanced features from Google Maps Platform, including Places APIs such as automatic localization with Geocoding API and Place Autocomplete, and custom maps for web and mobile from Maps Javascript API, as well as business hours and images of stores from Place Search. The store locator also provides routing integration with Routes features. Working with a Premier Google Maps Partner like Maplicate also means that ZEISS Vision Care benefits from the partner’s centralized Google Cloud infrastructure. The locator uses Google Kubernetes Engine, App Engine, Google Cloud SQL Database, BigQuery, and Cloud Pub/Sub and is deployed in Google data centers around the globe. This guarantees high availability and ensures quick loading times from almost anywhere in the world.

Centralizing data for more efficient and personalized marketing

Well maintained, centrally managed Google My Business entries are fundamental for running local ads and inventory campaigns on Google properties. ZEISS Vision Care now manages all the entries of branded ZEISS VISION CENTER partners from a central account, providing access to both the ZEISS Vision Care marketing team and individual store owners. This cloud-based database ensures that customer reviews can be quickly responded to and that local and global content can be added quickly and easily.

“Google Maps Platform and Google My Business enable us to establish all kinds of brand experiences around our products at each stage of the customer journey. Now we can seamlessly manage global and local content, both for ZEISS Vision Care and for our partners all over the world.”

Martin Dominicus, Head of Global Digital Marketing, ZEISS Vision Care

ZEISS Vision Care broke down the customer journey into pre-purchase, in-store, and post-purchase phases in order to attract and delight customers at every step. Customers are also invited to complete a personal lifestyle analysis, called My Vision Profile, which asks questions about a range of relevant lifestyle aspects to determine a personal vision needs profile and product recommendations. Once completed, it can be saved to Google Wallet with a QR code available to be scanned when they visit an optician found in the store locator.

“Google Maps Platform and Google My Business enable us to establish all kinds of brand experiences around our products at each stage of the customer journey,” says Martin. “Now we can seamlessly manage global and local content, both for ZEISS Vision Care and for our partners all over the world.”

“The store locator helps customers find the right optician, and user insights help us optimize the experience at the optician store. We’re closing the gap between investment in customer acquisition and actual conversion. Google Maps Platform and Google My Business enable us to measure our return on marketing investment.”

Martin Dominicus, Head of Global Digital Marketing, ZEISS Vision Care

To simplify the development process, the company chose to leverage a ready-made back end to manage locations both in the store locator and in Google My Business. It used the existing central data repository connected via an API built by Maplicate called Location Management System (LMS), and made out of Google Cloud components such as App Engine. This means that customers and opticians interact with the familiar Google Maps experience and Google My Business products. This helps to drive traffic to stores and delivers quick results to ZEISS’ vision care partners. It also eliminates the need for the company and Maplicate to maintain a separate database.

The store locator also enables ZEISS Vision Care to collect fully anonymized, GDPR-compliant data, delivering insights on consumer behavior from its website and Google properties such as Search and Maps. These insights help to optimize marketing campaigns and advertising spends, analyze market sentiment, and drive decisions on expansion based on geographic demand. ZEISS Vision Care is even able to monitor online traffic and see rates of online engagement at the store level.

“The store locator helps customers find the right optician, and user insights help us optimize the experience at the optician store,” says Martin. “We’re closing the gap between investment in customer acquisition and actual conversion. Google Maps Platform and Google My Business enable us to measure our return on marketing investment.”

Close up of woman't eye in eyeglasses

Empowering local markets with Google products

For other companies considering building products with mapping features, Martin has some advice. It’s important to let go of home-grown platforms in order to better integrate with existing marketplace ecosystems. For example, there’s no need to maintain a proprietary opening hours database when all of this information is already waiting in the cloud. Martin adds that it's important to train local marketing and sales teams as well, so that they can help their retail partners to make the most of the digital platforms that Google offers.

Following the early success of the store locator, the ZEISS Vision Care team is looking at what new functionality it can add to the store locator platform. It plans to add appointment scheduling in the near future, while also enabling partner opticians to utilize Google My Business themselves and receive ZEISS Vision Care services, helping partners to grow their business.

About Zeiss

ZEISS is an internationally leading technology brand operating in the fields of optics and optoelectronics. ZEISS Vision Care manufactures precision lenses and optometric instruments and works with a global network of independent premium vision care partners.

Industries: Retail & Consumer Goods
Location: Germany

About Maplicate

Maplicate is a Premier Google Maps Partner. The company plans, realizes, maintains, and supports customized applications and infrastructure