Warby Parker Case Study

Warby Parker disruptive marketing methodology

Understanding consumer preferences and cultivating relationships by listening and appealing to special consumer interest is critical in building brand equity and affiliation. Warby Parker is a classic example of a business that explored consumer preferences and adopted a consumer-centric approach that delivers more value for less by reducing prescription eyewear prices without compromising quality, consequently disrupting the eyewear industry.

Established in 2010 by four Wharton MBA graduates, Warby Parker was created as an alternative to major eyewear brands with an expensive product price line. Consequently, the sole aim was to disrupt the market by providing solutions to the conundrum of expensive and lack of fashionable prescription glasses. Warby Parker strategically inculcated a social cause as part of its overall business plan, which helped built a community of loyal consumers around its brand. Through the “Buy a Pair, Give a Pair program”, the company affirms it has distributed over five million pairs of glasses to those in need in more than 50 countries worldwide.

Warby Parker appealed to more consumers through its social cause and adopted a consumer-centric business model that focused on addressing multiple industry concerns, especially price, distribution, and quality. Additionally, circumventing traditional retail and distribution channels, designing glasses in-house and directly engaging with consumers across multiple social media sites allowed Warby Parker to provide premium quality, fashionable prescription eyewear that is affordable and accessible.

Understanding consumer preferences was critical in building a flourishing online community with similar interests, especially amongst millennials. That recognition fostered brand-driven relationships, which were instrumental in positioning Warby Parker as a major industry competitor. One notable innovation was its virtual try-on and home try-on campaign, allowed consumers to try five pairs of glasses before making a purchase or return for free if displeased. The try-on campaign, free shipping, and impeccable return policy attracted thousands if not millions of new consumers who would otherwise not order prescription glasses online; and presented consumers with convenience, developed brand trust, and peace of mind.

The role of social media to the Warby Parkers’ success

The evolution of the internet in the last decade is the catalyst that drives social networking sites. Through this innovation, businesses can engage directly with the target audience, and this unimpaired access to consumers has stimulated notable disruption across industries. Both organic and paid social media marketing can be attributed to the intense competition experienced globally. As a result, businesses must offer more than unique product features and be more innovative than ever before to stand out and drive sufficient traffic.

Warby Parker circumvented celebrities’ use to push its products, and instead utilized compelling ads and actual consumer testimonials shared across multiple social networking sites to promote its products. This unusual but innovative marketing strategy mirrored word-of-mouth effectiveness, authenticated, and strengthened the relationship between consumers and the brand. Consumers were also encouraged to post pictures of their Warby Parker eyewear on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram using designated hashtags for easy tracking and engagement. This tactic led to over 55,000 user-generated-content, which translated into higher sales returns for the company.

The growth of Warby Parker can be attributed to the penetration of social media and its ability to reach consumers at the right time, on the right platform, with the right content. Aside from reducing prescription eyewear costs, social media afforded the company an interrupted channel to engage consumers directly. As a result, creating a dialogue channel that ensures the company properly ascertain consumer preferences and implement strategic measures that satisfy those needs.

Venturing into Brick & Mortar

Although created as a complete e-commerce business, eliminating intermediary and the costs associated with running traditional channels enabled the company to provide prescription glasses at half the market value, starting at $90 a pair. Today, Warby Parker has expanded beyond e-commerce and now operates more than 55 retail stores across 15 cities throughout the United States. These retail outlets have helped Warby Parker increase its services to include optometry exams, satisfy consumers who relish interacting with the product personally, and cross-functionally boosting online and offline traffic and sales in the process.

The company considers adding traditional retail stores to its e-commerce offerings as a natural progression. According to David Gilboa, what we found from having both an online and offline buying experience is that people are not choosing one channel over the other, because Over 75% of consumers from the retail store have visited the Warby Parker website first. To satisfy consumers’ need for convenience, the company has invested heavily in technology to make the online and offline experience seamless.

Conclusion

Warby Parker is a brand that has successfully disrupted the eyewear industry and continues to innovate and satisfy consumers’ needs, both online and offline. The company’s ability to lower prescription eyewear prices without compromising quality was significant to its overall growth. Social media was instrumental in engaging consumers and served as a dialogue channel for the company. Also, branching out its e-commerce operations to include traditional retail outlets characterizes Warby Parker as a flexible institution willing to adjust according to the market trends and prioritize consumer satisfaction. Armed with a desire to provide the best products at an affordable price, Warby Parker will continue to provide exceptional customer experience, both online and in-person, through affordability, action, and advocacy.

One thought on “Warby Parker Case Study

  1. Hi Success!

    You did such an excellent job outlining the history of Warby Parker. I enjoyed the amount of that you went into regarding the intention that Warby Parker had when entering the industry and how they acknowledged a “lack of” within the eyewear industry and grew their business of the missing parts. For instance, you disucss how Warby Parker saw that there was a lack of reasonably priced and high quality fashionable prescription glasses. Warby Parker was able to stay ahead and become a leading competitor within the eyewear industry because they acknowledged what the customer was looking for and what they didn’t already have. They reviewed consumers preferences and also launched the successful home try on campaign that allowed for consumers to choose five pairs to have delivered to their door so that they could personally try on the glasses free of charge. In your post you write about how as a brand, they strategically integrated a social cause into their business plan to gain recognition for also doing good work along with producing good quality products.

    One of the most interesting parts of your blog that I read was about the physical retail store location verses an online presence. I thought that by including how over 75% of consumers from the retail store have visited the Warby Parker website first was very important to note. This shows that Warby Parker has gained a strong consumer base online that will also follow them to retail locations. In todays world we normally see the opposite of this happen in terms of e-commerce. Normally, we see a store have a physical location first and then an online site to further enhance their products. Warby Parker really mastered the fact that they gained their audience online first and then drew a consumer base at a physical retail location afterwards.

    To satisfy consumers’ need for convenience, the company has invested heavily in technology to make the online and offline experience seamless.

    You really did an excellent job at creating an aesthetically pleasing yet informative blog post about Warby Parker and their marketing strategies. It was very unique how you also added hyperlinks! This was a great asset and addition to your already informative post.

    Thanks again for the great read and for your thoughts.

    All the best,
    Kirsten M.

    Like

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