This is an installment in a weekly series on uncommon tech innovations and implementations across all industries. Get an inside look at how other companies have changed their brands, their sales, and their retention through digital and mobile tech.
When the founders of Warby Parker got the idea for their business, it was based on one word: expensive. That’s what the current eyewear industry was. Glasses were expensive, and the four founders quickly discovered why: one company had a near-monopoly on the glasses industry.
The Italian company Luxottica owned the most prominent eyewear stores along with several prestigious eyewear brands. From its beginning, Warby Parker sought to slash high overhead costs on glasses production and design and pass those savings right on to the consumer.
But would people really buy glasses online? Glasses are one of those special items people feel they must try on before they choose to buy them. But the Warby Parker founders refused to be discouraged. They built their idea into a legendary e-commerce company with a couple simple concepts.
The experience is everything.
“We’re obsessive when it comes to experiences,” said cofounder Neil Blumenthal to Forbes. Blumenthal and his associates knew that if they wanted to snare customers and keep them coming back, they had to create a seamless, effortless customer experience that would make their brand synonymous with “fun, easy, and convenient.”
Warby Parker was not the first company to think of selling glasses online, but it quickly became—and still is—the only one that mattered. And they largely have their marketing and customer experience to thank for their success. The founders carefully crafted a customer experience where effortless was king, and it has made all the difference.
The customers will talk, you just have to listen.
Along with customer experience, the Warby Parker founders recognized they had to give the customers what they wanted.
Even for those who need them for vision correction, glasses are primarily a fashion item. Before all else, they have to look good. So Warby Parker considers itself primarily a fashion company. They focus on vertical integration from manufacturing through design and create frames their (primarily millennial) customers want to wear.
Warby Parker also prioritizes customer service. They focus on customer retention and not giving their customers a reason to switch to a different company. They want to keep every glasses wearer they get.
What can we learn?
Warby Parker built their brand around customer relationships, and that’s precisely what your dealership has to do to win the retention game. Warby Parker’s exceptional customer experience was not an accident—everything they did to create their brand, perfect their buying process, and maintain a prime position in their customers’ purchasing preferences was absolutely intentional.
The glasses company was also one of the first. They didn’t jump on the online glasses bandwagon, they led the charge. You must similarly embrace experiential technology early rather than try to catch up once every other dealership in town offers the same things you do. Differentiating tools and tech gives you a big pull on your customers’ attention. From there, it’s just a matter of maintaining it.
Don’t wait to implement a seamless, effortless customer experience. Once Warby Parker was launched, dozens of copycats were to follow. But the imitators don’t have nearly the same clout with customers, and neither will you if you wait to transform your customer experience to keep your customers coming back.
Use tech tools early and effectively to keep customers in your dealership day after day, from one vehicle to the next.