Just a few years after disrupting the eyewear industry with its internet-first business model, some considered Warby Parker’s expansion into physical retail a step in the wrong direction. For the brand’s founders, who believe that buying glasses should be easy and fun, it was a natural progression aimed at providing a more integrated shopping experience.
“For us, we really focused on providing a great online experience but an offline as well,” co-founder David Gilboa said in an interview.
Using pop-up shops and a converted school bus that travelled the country for 18 months, the brand was able to find the ideal locations for permanent stores and collect customer feedback otherwise impossible to capture.
“We have learned so much from face-to-face conversations, feedback that from a purely digital relationship probably would have been impossible to get,” Gilboa told an online resource for marketing research and insights on trends.
For example, after observing that many customers were coming to stores with the names of frames they found online written on paper, they developed a “favorite” feature on their website and in their app. Not only could customers “favorite” an item, the brand took it a step further by making the information immediately available to sales associates – this way even if the shopper “favorites” items while browsing in the store, there’s no time wasted going back to cases of frames, carrying them around or trying to remember names.
Warby Parker also found the reverse was happening – people stopped in to try frames but weren’t ready to make a purchase. They solved this problem by creating a digital bookmark that allows employees take pictures of a customer in their favorite frames and then send them an email; when the customer is ready to make the purchase, the frames can be added to their cart with a simple click from the email.
The company’s mobile app was enhanced too: A “Find Your Fit” feature uses iPhone 10’s facial recognition technology to allow shoppers to take measurements and get the most accurate frame recommendations whether they’re at home or in the store; “Prescription Check” lets an optometrist assess a customer’s vision through a particular pair of glasses to determine whether a full eye exam or just an updated prescription is needed.
Not only does all of this technology create a seamless omnichannel experience, it provides the brand with continuous data and insight into their customer – their likes, dislikes, shopping behavior, preferences, etc. Armed with this information, the brand can continue to find ways to use mobile technology to improve the purchase journey – a wise decision considering the increasingly important role mobile devices are playing in both online and offline retail purchases (see sidebar).
- Forte, Daniela. “Click-to-Brick Success Story Warby Parker Continues to Disrupt, Innovate.” Multichannel Merchant, Multichannel Merchant, 21 Aug. 2018, multichannelmerchant.com/ecommerce/click-brick-success-story-warby-parker-continues-disrupt-innovate/.
- “History.” Warby Parker, www.warbyparker.com/history.
- “Why Mobile Is Central to Omnichannel Customers.” Latest News, www.mobilemarketer.com/ex/mobilemarketer/cms/opinion/columns/17359.html.
- Nikunj SanghviFollowDigital Advisory. “How Technology Impacts Omnichannel Experiences for Consumers.” LinkedIn, www.linkedin.com/pulse/how-technology-impacts-omnichannel-experiences-nikunj-sanghvi/.