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Warby Parker's Retail Expansion isn't Slowing Down Anytime Soon
In 2013, eyewear e-commerce pioneer Warby Parker opened its first retail store in SoHo with fairly low expectations. In 2015, that store still occasionally had a line out the door on weekends, and Warby Parker had 12 retail locations across the country, with plans to open seven more before the end of the year. This article explores why the online-native eyewear retailer chose to open so many stores in such a short period of time.
Brick-and-mortar stores have proven to be a crucial component to the company’s growth. In 2014 Fashionista reported that Warby Parker had sold about 1 million pairs of glasses (a guestimate based on how many pairs it gave away), half of them in the span of a year. While the company still does not disclose sales figures, the owner of Warby Parker says that “even as the company’s gotten bigger, our growth rate on a percentage basis has accelerated,” meaning the company is growing even faster than it was a year ago.
Rather than take a bite out of e-commerce sales, the physical stores only seem to help them. A very data-driven company, Warby has found that 30-50 percent of those who shop in its stores are people who were unlikely to make a purchase online.
Warby Parker also looks at online orders, website traffic and demographic data to determine where it will open its next stores. High-potential customers tend to be men and women aged 22 to 35, who are educated, sophisticated and tech-savvy.
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