Today, I am going to take you on a deep dive into how Warby’ Parker’s marketing strategy played an integral role in their success. Warby wanted to create a brand not just a product and they invested deeply in their brand.
Warby Parker as an Online Shopping Experience
Unlike most traditional glasses stores, Warby Parker is entirely online. So, it only makes sense for their online presence, both in their shop and outside of it, to be one of their highest priorities.First, the store itself. In order to create a seamless online shopping experience, they thought about every reason why someone would not want to purchase glasses online and designed their website and business to address each and every potential reason:
- For example, customers typically want to try glasses on in a store in order to see how they look on them. So, Warby created a home try on program so that customers could try on frames from the comfort of their own homes. They also created a virtual try-on program to make it even easier for their customers to get a feel for their glasses.
- Additionally, they positioned themselves to be a luxury brand without the luxury price tag. They created stylish, trendy, and hip (don’t use the word hipster) glasses because they thought of glasses not as a utility but as a fashion accessory. For example, they priced their glasses at $95. Typically, without insurance, glasses can cost up to $800! So, Warby is substantially cheaper than its competition without sacrificing quality.
Basically, they set themselves up to be a convenient and inexpensive way to buy glasses.
Their Marketing Strategies
Warby has been incredibly thoughtful with their advertising and customer acquisition strategy. They understood the huge role that PR can play in getting the word out about new brands and generating interest. In some ways, they went a more “traditional” route:
- When Warby launched they were featured in both Vogue and GQ magazines which resulted in a waitlist of over 20,000 people! In fact, they hit their first year sales target within three weeks of launching. They gave publications a reason to talk about them through their modern brand, their pricing, and buy one give one program where they donated glasses to people in need.
However, they also knew a thing or two about how the internet worked, and implemented a few strategies to make them go “viral” online, in a sense.
- They did things like a viral school bus tour across the country where they sold their glasses onboard.
- They also did a flash mob during New York Fashion Week that went viral.
Another key to their marketing strategy was embracing social media. In fact, Warby Parker was one of the first companies to hire a dedicated employee to only focus on social media. You might even know who they hired – Jen Rubio who went on to co-found the travel company Away.Warby utilized social media in numerous ways:
- Warby told customers to post their home-try on photos on social media in order to get feedback from other people.
- They also tweeted personalized video responses to questions on Twitter. They could have just typed their responses, but they really went the extra mile!
I think Warby Parker shows us the potential in e-commerce and the massive opportunities for other modern brands to develop in this day and age. It all starts with recognizing a market opportunity, leveraging your strengths as a founder, and turning on the idea of building a brand and not a product; in this case, an online-based brand that needed some traditional but primarily online marketing to take off.
Thanks so much for reading,