Warby Parker knew people didn’t want to get glasses to sight unseen, so it started out by shipping 5 pairs of your choice to new customers so they could try each one on and figure out which they liked best.
Then came various experiments with virtual try-on, using webcams and imaging software to try and make the home try-on redundant.
Early in 2017, a small, startup-like team inside Warby Parker was assembled to make the company’s biggest move towards disrupting the distribution of glasses yet.
The idea was to break the company into the $5B eye exam market.
According to David Rose, Warby Parker’s VP of vision technology, speaking to Fast Company, about 110M Americans get an eye exam every year for about $50 for each test. Optometrists get approximately 59% of their total revenue from selling all those Luxxotica-made frames to their newly-examined patients.
It makes sense. When people get eye exams, they’re used to just getting a set of glasses at the office.
You’re getting them right at the point of sale. You can try them on. It’s convenient and easy, if undoubtedly overpriced.
Getting your prescription handed to you, walking out, and uploading the details to a startup’s website is not a process that feels as natural or easy to most people even if you can try on at home.
Warby Parker, as a D2C eyewear brand, cannot have floor space at the optometrist’s office. They’re never going to be at the POS the way Luxxotica brands are.
So this team inside Warby Parker didn’t try to fight there instead of trying to muscle into the traditional eye exam flow, they created their own an eye exam doesn’t even require a visit to an office.
Using the Prescription Check app (iOS), users can (using a credit card for scale) measure their prescription and pupillary distance completely digitally. Their results are sent to a Warby Parker-contracted doctor who checks them over.
It’s a simple and easy way to get your prescription at home without traveling to a doctor’s office and paying to get your eyes looked at there.
It feeds directly into Warby Parker’s funnel because as soon as it has your prescription information, you’re ready to go pick out a new pair of glasses within an adjacent app.
And it’s key to Warby Parker’s business model of disrupting as much of the traditional eyewear value chain as possible the better Warby does it, the more customers it can strip away.
It’s impressive of the metamorphic change up and growth on the Optical company by the name of Warby Parker. The company was developed and begun out of the apartments by a then-graduate student’s Dave Gilboa and Neil Blumenthal circa 2010.
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