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Antitrust 11/03/2021

Case Study: Warby Parker

Zach Lilly
Zach Lilly Policy Manager

Launched in 2010, Warby Parker was envisioned as an eyewear company for the internet era. With an online business model, customers were given the choice to shop for their next pair of glasses or sunglasses from the comfort of their home. Unlike other companies that preceded it, Warby Parker didn’t ask its customers to absorb the cost of a new frame without the luxury of trying them on first. One of the early novelties of the company was the ability to wear up to five of the brand’s frames at home without having to commit to purchasing any. This model maintained the convenience of at-home, online shopping while also preserving a fundamental benefit of the in-store experience: test driving the product. As technology has progressed the company has begun to offer a virtual try-on service using Apple AR.   

Eleven years later,Warby Parker still maintains the services that made it so successful as it expanded into physical retail. The company recognizes that while you could capture a significant portion of the market with its early innovations, many customers still love the in-person experience and service available at a brick-and-mortar store. In fact, in the post-pandemic era, the company plans to add 35 new retail locations. This is on top of Warby Parker’s recent IPO listing on the NYSE. 

Warby Parker’s embrace of an omnichannel retail model allowed it to successfully challenge a concentrated and notoriously expensive eyewear market. This meant more choices and lower prices for shoppers. 

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