Online eyeglass retailer Warby Parker has big ambitions for brick and mortar retail. The company, founded in 2010, is looking to have nearly 100 retail locations across the U.S. this year.
Warby Parker began as one of the first online-only eyeglass stores, and was known for its unique hip designs and their free try-on policy, where they’d send you five sets of lenses to try on in the comfort of your home.
The company was also one of the first to help move the trend of ‘online moving offline’, blending their online and offline business by opening physical retail locations in New York. Opening more retail locations allowed Warby to gain more exposure and to learn more about their customers.
Currently, Warby has 64 stores in prime markets. CEO Neil Blumenthal said to CNBC that Warby has also tested out pop-up shops, stores on wheels (decked out school buses) and other ‘mediums’ to reach customers.
Blumenthal went on to say, “We think the presentation by retail experts of ‘either [online] or [offline] is a false choice. It really is the intersection of the two. … And we are trying to approach retail expansion in a very deliberate manner, where we are testing and learning.”
Warby joins other online merchants exploring the online moving offline model like Everlane, Harry’s, Untuckit, Boll & Branch, Allbirds, and most recently Casper, which just opened its first store at 627 Broadway in New York City’s Noho neighborhood.