Warby Parker is a popular direct to consumer eyewear brand founded in 2010, with the mission to “offer designer eyewear at a revolutionary price while leading the way for socially conscious businesses.”
This premium-quality eyewear brand designs their frames in-house and only sells their glasses online and in the retail locations they own. As of 2018, the New-York-based company has grown to 60 retail locations in the United States and Canada, and was named one of the world’s most innovative companies by the magazine Fast Company.
Based in New York City with over 60 retail locations (and growing), Warby Parker is a leading direct to consumer eyeglasses and sunglasses brand. They don’t have an official motto, but they make a strong statement on their website: “We believe that buying glasses should be easy and fun. It should leave you happy and good-looking, with money in your pocket.”
By cutting out the middleman and the traditional channels, designing their glasses in-house, and engaging with customers directly in their retail stores, Warby Parker is able to provide “higher-quality, better-looking prescription eyewear at a fraction of the going price.” Not only are their frames stylish and affordable (starting at $95 with prescription lenses included), but their lenses are loaded with premium features, and they’ve their extended their no middleman business model to make it easier for customers to get a new prescription.
For a quality standpoint, we found many raving fans of Warby Parker online, among the brand’s massive social media communities (over a million fans and followers between Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter). In addition to frame quality, each lens is loaded with features that could easily warrant fees of their own (and have in the past, in traditional retailers): scratch-resistant coating, UV protection, anit-reflective coating, and superhydrophobic (water-repelling) coating. Warby Parker is certainly passing value through to consumers in the way of product features.
Their direct to consumer eyeglasses can be tried first (with no obligation to purchase) by choosing 5 pairs to be shipped to you. The pairs have demo lenses; they’ll send you the actual glasses later, after you decide the frame you want. If you want none of them, you simply return them all in the pre-paid envelope provided, and try again!
To make ordering even easier, consumers who have an iPhone X can use the facial features of the iPhone to quickly measure their face accurately and ensure the right fit for their frames. Beyond the iPhone X, any iPhone device user can use Warby Parker’s iOS app to order their 5 pairs of glasses. Their app currently has a very impressive 4.9 out of 5 star rating in the App Store.
One incredible feature offered by Warby Parker is the ability to get an updated eye prescription through their mobile app, or by coming into their store for an eye checkup. Not everybody qualifies for this (depends on the type of vision problem you have), but for those who do, what a time savings! It eliminates the need to go back to an optometrist to get your newest prescription. What a great example of cutting out another middleman! For those who don’t qualify for the online or in-store vision check, there are also Warby Parker stores with optometrists listed on their site.
When it comes to customer service and the return policy, this direct to consumer brand shines. They’re responsive on Facebook, offer online chat on their website, maintain great hours (9am-9pm) for phone support, and they even have a text messaging number listed for inquiries and help!
The return policy is excellent. Not only does this direct to consumer brand offer the mail-based 5 day trial program, but they also offer free returns as part of their “30-day, no-questions-asked return policy” for all frames. They also have a one-year, no-scratch guarantee for their lenses and will replace any scratched lenses for free within the first 12 months.
Lastly, Warby gives back. On their Buy A Pair, Give A Pair page, the company explains the problem they’re looking to solve: “2.5 billion people around the world need glasses but don’t have access to them; of these, 624 million cannot effectively learn or work due to the severity of their visual impairment.” To help address this problem, Warby Parker partners with non-profits like VisionSpring to ensure that for every pair of glasses sold, a pair is distributed to someone in need.
At NoMiddleman, we feel that Warby Parker is a leading direct to consumer eyewear brand and a powerful example of what is possible for true direct to consumer brands. By leveraging their middleman-free retail presence and superior online technology, this No Middleman favorite delivers exceptional value to consumers, with premium-quality eyewear at affordable prices.
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