When business students David Gilboa and Neil Blumenthal, pondered why eye glasses cost as much as an iphone, they were challenging how value was created in that category. Their research uncovered a “fat” and complacent sector, with 3 to 5 times mark up on the cost of goods, monopolized by 3 big giants who were ripe for a disruptive competitor.
Gilboa and Blumenthal then went on to step up to the challenge of creating a product range with their own etail shop front. Warby Parker hit their first year sales target in just 3 weeks.
Here is the drill down on why Warby Parker have got it so right.
Warby Parker’s brand building formula
Unexpected content, this leads to breakthroughs in marketing clutter,
Beautiful design, as a fashion label everything has to be beautiful
Social mission, Warby Paker have given a pair of glasses to people who could not otherwise afford them, 200,000 pairs as of August 2012
Affordability, a belief that prescription glasses should not cost more than $300 and like shoes and bags, we should be able to afford a few pairs
Compelling narrative, brand stories are the fuel of customer advocacy
Cracked the online experience: Warby Parker used virtual reality with a simulator that allows people to see the glasses on their face
Hassle free returns Research shows the fear of returns thwarts online sales. Warby Parker sends people 5 styles to choose from allowing them to return by mail what they don’t want, all a free service.
As online sales for glasses represent just 1.6% of a 18 billion dollar market, Warby Parker know they have so much more growth ahead. They plan to use a bricks and mortar retail presence to support the brand, with a store in New York’s Soho neighbourhood. Like other etailers, Warby Parker would have crunched the numbers on the cost of customer acquisition and found that foot traffic is a cost effective way to introduce customers to the brand.
Warby Parker full of promise a lot more disruption to come. A real game changer and one to watch.
Hearts and Minds
Founder Thought Leaders Circle