Can You See Me Now? Warby Parker Can Help

Being the only one in my family of four to not be four-eyed was always somewhat of a disappointment for me. Now, I’m certainly not complaining about my luck in having 20×20 eyesight, but it definitely makes a girl wonder what she’s missing out on! Since its introduction in 2010, Warby Parker has given me (and the rest of the population who can read the bottom line on the eye exam chart) a renewed reason to wish for less-than perfect eyesight.warby-parker-box

Warby Parker was founded by four inventive four-eyed gentlemen around the idea that everyone has the right to see. Similar to Toms’ business model, for every pair of glasses sold, a pair is distributed to someone in need. In order to make the transition from buying traditional glasses to WP smoother, the company offers a Home Try On program.
Potential customers can pick 5 frames and WP will ship them off to customers for free for a five-day period. The prices for a pair of WP glasses start at $95, and to keep these prices down while also fulfilling its mission, the company focuses on three areas of business.

  1. Circumvent traditional channels
  2. Design glasses in-house
  3. Engage with customers directly

In order to engage with customers directly, Warby Parker dominates three areas of social media. With the company having now distributed over one million pairs of glasses, WP continues to use Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube to further its noble mission of helping everyone to see the world!

Facebook:

Warby Parker uses Facebook in a similar fashion to other companies, but in order to accommodate the unique distribution scheme of its operations, WP has two categories of Facebook interactions. The largest Facebook page WP operates is the main brand page. It has just under 450,000 likes and its content mainly consists of new product introductions, new WP store openings, partnership updates, and links to press about the co-CEOs (such as this interesting Fast Company article written in March 2015). WP also has Facebook pages for each of its retail locations. These pages consist of localized information and photos from the stores. One way WP stands out on Facebook, however, is its tireless engagement with its customers. For example, if a customer posted that he/she didn’t know there was a new store opening in his/her town, WP would respond back: Screenshot 2015-10-28 19.58.13Or if a customer needed some objective advice on which pair of WP frames to choose from the Home Try On program, the WP social team would respond back:Screenshot 2015-10-28 19.59.12

Instagram:

To keep the down-to-earth no-hassle vibe of Warby Parker going, WP’s Instagram is full of photos of its employees. The majority of the models in WP Instagrams are either employees of the corporate office or of individual stores, allowing the startup feel to remain in a company that has expanded exponentially in the past few years.

Screenshot 2015-10-28 20.05.30

Many of the posts feature just the glasses in various settings, but others promote new locations, causes the company is dedicated to, or collaborations with various artists. WP is also tagged in thousands of photos on Instagram with #warbyparker or #warbyhometryon. For posts tagged with #warbyhometryon, the Warby Parker or Warby Parker Help team responds to hundreds of potential customers asking which glasses look best.  In addition, WP glasses can be seen on Instagram featuring celebrities ranging from Karlie Kloss and Ryan Gosling to John Hamm and Oprah Winfrey. By posting original content and engaging with customers, WP continues to grow its strong presence on Instagram.

YouTube:Screenshot 2015-10-28 20.31.46

The Warby Parker Help YouTube channel features short videos on the various partnerships in which the company engages, such as Uncrate, Maiyet, and Cooper Hewitt. Almost all of the videos feature a WP employee explaining the partnership or the style of frame featured. This is consistent with the theme from Instagram. In addition, WP also receives a significant amount of social media press from various YouTube contributors talking about their own experiences with the brand. Many of these videos include the WP Home Try On boxes, labeled with the phrase “Good things await you”.

Warby Parker also has a presence on Snapchat, which it promotes on Instagram (social media inception? Tricky WP).Screenshot 2015-10-28 20.06.12

Seeing as the company now consists of over 500 employees, Warby Parker now has a social media team to engage its customers. The company encourages all members of WP to engage with customers online and to “write like Warby Parker is the person you’d want to be next to you at a dinner party.” (Fast Company). In addition, to ensure the one-brand image, Neil Blumenthal, one of the co-CEOs, approves all marketing messages for the company.

Although I have no need for a pair of well-crafted frames, Warby Parker’s social media and overall business model convinced me I should buy a pair regardless. Through Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube, WP has made a name for itself in the minds of customers around the country, and I would venture to say to Warby Parker: good things await you.

10 comments

  1. Thanks for posting this! I think this company is a great example of leveraging social media to make something rather mundane appear to be very hip. My wife decided that she was going to take a look, so off to Newbury Street we went. It was small, cramped, crowded, but everyone was having a great time trying on different frames and waiting to meet with a representative to order a pair. I don’t wear glasses, but I tried a few pairs on anyway, just to see how I would look in these hip frames. We walked out of there satisfied that no other prescription eyewear experience was quite the same! Helps that a few celebrities jumped on board and have their images on Warby Parker’s Facebook page. I also like the virtual page that allows you to capture an image of your face to try on the glasses listed on the website. Truly cool, and I think traditional eyewear companies will have a hard time competing!

  2. This is a great post. Warby Parker is a fantastic company that utilizes a strong business model. Similarly to companies such as Trunk Club, Warby Parker’s try on feature takes away the stress and inconvenience of shopping in the store. Consumer now have an ample amount of time to try on and decide which glasses are right for their style. Warby Parker also has a strong and specific social media strategy. They recognize the best platforms for the product and they do not try and stretch their social media reach too far. It seems that their social media platforms reflect the culture of the company and continuously engages the consumer. Good work!

  3. I own a pair of Warby Parker sunglasses and, while I don’t follow them on social media, I’m not surprised to hear they’re doing all the right things. Companies need to understand that a two-way dialogue needs to happen between them and the consumer to foster relationships and promote community building. Too many companies are slow to act on where real time interactions really matter. I’m curious how many WP employees (beyond the social media team) actually choose to interact with customers online and what kind of training they have to go through to do so.

  4. I’ve been a dedicated Warby fan for the past few years. I think what makes them so successful, is how well they knew their brand from the very beginning. The way they market themselves and have marketed themselves have truly helped them hit the ground running in the long run. Not to mention, the quality of their glasses are exceptional. Taking a look at their social media pages, one can see how their aesthetic caters to their customers — clean, innovative, sharp. It’s without a doubt that Warby Parker has been confident in their image since the start and therefore have been so successful in marketing themselves through social media.

  5. runningconvo · ·

    Great post! Love Warby Parker! It has absolutely delivered an answer to a glasses wearing population. (Going on 21 years myself). It was actually through Facebook that I first came across the company but did not know how much focus it out into its other social channels. The company’s usage of employee models definitely cuts down on cost, I presume, and also adds a level of accessibility to the company. This ties nicely with its messaging and humanitarian focus of providing glasses to those in need. Other companies should take notice of these strengths.

  6. Nice post. I’ve been following their social media strategy for a while, thanks to student bloggers like you keeping up. SM simply creates much greater opportunity for companies like these to interact directly with customers, potentially setting up a strong and long-term relationship.

  7. I think most would agree with Warby Parker’s message that everyone has the right to see. Nothing is sadder than trying to teach arithmetic to a kid that has to put his face a quarter inch away from the paper in order to see the numbers. Being a four-eyed aficionado myself (ten years going strong), I feel like the next time I need a new pair, it will be from Warby Parker. The WP Home Try On program seems too good to pass up, especially since they’ll ship you up to 5 total nonprescription frames at no cost. Combined with their virtual try on webpage, other traditional businesses will be hard pressed to keep up. Also, trust me when I say you don’t want to have impaired vision.

  8. I haven’t bought a new pair of glasses in four years, but I’m definitely eyeing (terrible pun intended) some of Warby Parker’s options. One trouble I’ve had with opticians is that you never really know what brands / quality to expect. It was a very smart move for Warby Parker to disrupt the field with both brand and digital innovation where it was otherwise lacking. I wonder how long that will be able to maintain such a strong strategic advantage.

    One cool feature I found online is that they let you try on a pair of glasses via webcam. Wondering whether other e-commerce site will start getting into this soon!

  9. Love Warby Parker! Bought a pair of glasses from them last year and it’s still my favorite pair I’ve ever owned. Their Try 5 program is genius and I remember it had multiple inserts that encouraged customers to share their 5 options on social media so friends could help weigh in on which pair to buy. Great model and company

  10. I, too, wait for the day to be able to order my first pair of warby parker frames. I credit both a 60 Minutes story from a few years ago and their social media strategy (still to this day) for the reasons why I want to purchase glasses from them. I actually should get an eye test and face the fact that, maybe, it is now my time to become a four-eyed, sophisticated, warby parker-wearing member of society. I threw in “sophisticated” to play that card once I wear glasses (I know it doesn’t apply now).

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