Without my glasses, I’m as blind as a bat. Faces become obscure and everything is a blob of colors without shape. Some of you know this pain, and some of you even know how expensive it is to get prescription glasses. I’m currently surviving on one pair of glasses that have the prescription gloss eroding away at the corners. Being a grad student (or really any student) can be tough financially, and in my social media course, I read about a group of college students who found a solution to this dilemma that may help some of you.
In 2010, students at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, Neil Blumenthal, Andrew Hunt, David Gilboa, and Jeffrey Raider, launched a company that would revamp the way prescription eyeglasses were sold to consumers. The company was named Warby Parker. Their business model focused on online distribution and designing glasses in-house to cut out outside manufacturer costs. At first, consumers were hesitant because everyone was so used to going to showrooms to try on glasses. Through effective use of social media, these brilliant students were able to change the narratives and reduce dissonance. Today, Warby Parker has shipped more than 500,000 pairs of glasses.
Warby Parker would use social media to communicate daily with potential consumers and ask any questions, concerns, or complaints anyone had. By doing this, the company enabled the ability for consumers to build trust and a personal relationship with the company, which is crucial in today’s marketing world. Relationship building leads to brand loyalty!
Another business strategy the company used was developing the “Home Try-On Campaign” which allowed consumers to have samples of up to 5 glasses shipped to their homes to test out. This option was free of charge, and the consumer only paid for what they would keep. This helped to minimize the reluctance of consumers who were used to going into physical showrooms to try on glasses. Without the help of social media and the digital landscape, Warby Parker may not have become as successful. With traditional media, the company may have had a harder time developing trust with the consumers and getting their narrative out there.
Consumers were encouraged to share their positive experiences with friends online and post pictures of them wearing their cool shades. This allowed new customers to hear about the product through an already trusted source. Word-of-mouth (WOM) is such a powerful marketing tool that today’s online world allows for easily with user-generated content.
Social Media Perks I’ve learned thus far
- Reaching a larger audience
- Building relationships and trust
- Direct communication with the consumer
- Builds brand loyalty
- Monitors consumer feedback (think reviews and comments on posts)
- Faster business growth
- Cheaper advertising
I read about Warby Parker in my textbook for my social marketing class (link is below!). Subscribe if you’re interested in learning along with me!