Daily Dose of iQ: Warby Parker's First Physical Store Opens in NYC

Apr 18, 2013 — Allan Pulga

Last month, we blogged about Clearly Contacts opening its first physical store on Vancouver's trendy Robson Street.

Today we learned that Warby Parker (a popular online eyewear retailer in the U.S.) opened up a first physical store of its own, in New York City's trendy Soho district, as Business of Fashion reported yesterday (April 17).

"Clearly, the new flagship will enable customers to better experience the Warby Parker brand — and touch, feel and try on the product," wrote the BoF Team. "The store, with its prime Soho location and fashionable neighbours like Apple, Louis Vuitton and A.P.C., will also, no doubt, help the company raise brand awareness and signal its premium positioning."

But it goes beyond brand awareness. "Hidden sensors embedded in the store track how people use the retail space, mirroring the kind of online analytics that measure how visitors interact with a website," they wrote. "Indeed, in partnership with analytics start-up Nomi, the company plans to marry information collected in-store with online data trails to create a single, unified view of their customers, online and offline, and deliver a seamless omni-channel experience."

Warby Parker's store is clever and one step ahead of most brick-and-mortar retailers.

Leave it to an online retailer to open a cutting-edge, trackable store. It's clever and one step ahead of most retailers, who are using more traditional means of tracking in-store customer behavior, like analyzing video surveillance for example. Some retailers are even looking at using in-store Wi-Fi to track customers.

Warby Parker cuts out separate costs of hardware and installation required for adding "sensors" and software to track existing retail locations. This is of course the luxury Warby Parker enjoys opening its first store with deep pockets and a knowledge of how shoppers navigate their website and why.

This flagship has a number of cool features that create a unique and memorable customer experience.

Other nifty features include:

  • Full-time optometrists giving $50 eye exams, "appointments for which are displayed on a train-station-style board"
  • A photo booth where customers can take pictures of themselves trying on new glasses and print or email these pictures
  • Staff carrying tablets for mobile POS checkout anywhere in-store.

It's all a very interesting brand and customer experience experiment. I'd like to visit the store and see what it's like in person.

Topics: Mobile Industry, Customer Experience, Business Intelligence, e-Commerce, Retail Marketing

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