How @WarbyParker Makes Buying Eyeglasses Fun+Fast+PricedRight+ClientCentric (and a few surprises!)

If you have heard me speak in the last few years, or you are a client of mine, or simply sit and listen to me ramble about businss topics, you know that I am somewhat obsessed with the client experience.

It’s really pretty easy:  if you give a client a great experience, a value-added product and service, communicate really well, and make it easy to do business with, you probably have a successful business model.  So many business owners make it a LOT harder than it needs to be do business with them.

Last year, I noticed when I was on an airplane, that my eyes would hurt from reading on my iPad, or even the laptop.  I found that when I played Words with Friends, I took my glasses off to read my iPhone.  Ugh.  I knew a trip to the optometrist was in my future.

Because of my crazy schedule, it was August before I got into see the opti-doc!  Yep, my prescription had changed.  According to my doc, I was hitting 42 prior to 42, as I guess 42 is an age when you start to strain your eyes with reading things up close.  I have zero idea why its 42.  Seemed a bit funny to me, but then again, like I know anything about eyes.

It took months before I took the time to look for some new specs.  I had seen a company called “Warby Parker” advertised on the internet, and I had friends I knew that ordered their new glasses from them.   If you’re like me, you are used to paying $300+ for new glasses and lenses.  And, when I went into my local Target Optical or Costco (the places I’ve found to be the best deal), they always upsold me into scratch resistant lenses (I fall asleep way too often with my glasses on!) as well as the thin lenses, giving me the impression a long time ago my prescription was bad enough I’d have coke-bottle lenese.  That I would not have, trust me.

So, I jumped onto Warby Parker and surfed around.  I really liked their product – cutting edge, fashionable, great photography, fun.  And, frames+lenses are only $95.  Delivered.  WHAT?

But you know, buying glasses is a pretty personal process.  You try on pairs and pairs and pairs trying to find the right one.  There are pesky measurements, you have NO idea the final cost until you say, “I like these frames” – and then you must wait.  Sometimes weeks.

Warby Parker takes a personal experience, and makes it easy, and then makes it even more personal.  It’s pretty simple really, you filter your likes and dislikes through their website, colors of frames like, sizes of frames (in simple to understand – small, medium and large), and wha-la:  frames under your criteria show up.  And they are cool.  This is where it gets even cooler – and more personable.

You choose five frames, enter your contact information and credit card in (just for verification purposes, no cost at all) and they ship out to you ASAP those five frames for you to try on, get input from family and friends, and decide if you like one of the pairs (or all of them, haha).  You then log onto the website, order the frames you like, they charge you $95 and you’re done – other than putting the five frames back in the box and sending them back to Warby Parker – at no cost.



Oh.  After I ordered my new specs, I then called their 800 number and a pleasant and bubbly girl answered the phone.  It sure as heck did not sound like a call center.  I get the impression this girl was sitting at her desk around her co-workeres – it was uber-personal.  I needed to upgrade to those super think and super light lenses I was used to paying for WITH EVERY PAIR OF GLASSES I HAVE EVER BOUGHT. 

She brought my order up and told me that there were no where near necessary with my prescription.  WHAT? !!????   !??????    Honestly, I pushed back to her.  I told her every single pair of glasses since I was 12 years old had them.  She assured me it was not necessary, and if I was not pleased, I could return them.    Whoa.  In fact, she said that they “begin” recommending them at TWICE my prescription.  I felt taken advantage of to the 100th degree.  Those non client-centric and expensive places like LensCrafters, Costco and Target (which I now understand after watching the 60 Minutes special last year on the eyeglass industry, are all controlled by the same company, a lacking integrity company at that) took advantage of me, charging me for something I did not need.  Who knows if I even got those lenses they charged me for.

Not Warby Parker.

They are all about taking a painful process, making it easy, making it affordable, making it fun, and making you look good in the process.

I love my new glasses.  (See a pic below of me and my mom at a family birthday party a month ago and my new glasses!)  I get compliments on them all the time, and I have Warby Parker to blame for that.  Thanks, guys.  You rock.

Keep it going.  You’ve figured something out a lot of business owners need to figure out. 


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