Category Archives: risk

$99 eyeglasses? How Warby Parker reduces risk


It’s not easy getting people to click. Warby Parker battled this when it launched an ingenious business model. There is no reason, it seems, that designer eyeglasses cost hundreds of dollars; Warby Parker found it could source materials from Italy and use Chinese manufacturers to make spectacles just as fancy as the ones at the eye shop down the street, and sell the entire package including prescription lenses for only $99. The only trick: It would have to convince people to buy eyeglasses online.

Tempting, but what if they don’t fit? Warby Parker reduced the risk in several ways: You can upload a photo of yourself, and then have the eyeglasses digitally mocked up on your face to see what you look like. When you narrow down choices, Warby will send you five frames for free for you to try on at home, before making your order. And even when you finally order, Warby will guarantee the eyeglasses or you can return them.

As The New York Times noted in its review, unlike most retailers who focus on closing sales online, Warby gives you time to mull the idea over. Marketers focused on getting online results might consider: do our customers need time to evaluate the risk of choosing us? And if so, what offers, like Warby Parker, can we give them to pull them gently in our direction?

Ben Kunz is vice president of strategic planning at Mediassociates, an advertising media planning and buying agency, and co-founder of its digital trading desk eEffective.