Technology, UXPaul McAleer

The Warby Parker Experience

Technology, UXPaul McAleer

Last year during my routine eye appointment, my eye doctor told me something surprising. "You might only have another 2 years or so with contacts," he said, "before your eyes start rejecting them a little more often." I didn't know if he was bullshitting me or not, as I'd been wearing contacts for over 20 years. But I knew that I was growing tired of putting the little plastic thingies in my eyes every day and my glasses were woefully outdated - both in prescription and style. So I decided to buy new glasses.

I naturally thought of Warby Parker when it came time to buy. Now that I've had the glasses for nearly a year (9 months, to be precise), I wanted to share my thoughts.

Before You Buy

Warby Parker's pre-sale experience is fantastic. The home try-on program is killer: request up to 5 frames, try them out, and then send them back. I ended up doing this three times total, at no cost to me. (I didn't think much of their "try them on, online" stuff; that doesn't appeal to me.)

As I got my trial frames, I took them into work to ask co-workers' opinions, and then I started tweeting about them as well. The most surprising part of the whole experience was when Warby Parker made me a YouTube video (!) with frame picks, based on my tweet:

This absolutely floored me. What amazing customer service! After one last home try-on that included the frames I bought, I went ahead and made a purchase.

The winning pair, by the way, was the Wiloughby in Striped Chestnut. (Nice naming too, folks). 

All was great. I received my new glasses in a lovely case, and have enjoyed them ever since.

The Post-UX UX

But there's something that's really been bugging me about my experience, and it is this: after I bought these glasses from WP, I felt like I was dead to them. I was receiving a lot of attention - personal attention, no less - during the shopping process. That's good! That should happen, if I want it (and I did).

Once my order was done, my status with WP seemed to devolve back into "hit up for future purchases only". There was no communication asking me how my glasses were doing, or how I was liking them. There was no video checking in with me, and no one encouraging me to continue to share my experience. Sure, the try-on process is made for our times, practically begging people to post pics on Instagram or Twitter (and I did!)

The only emails I've received from WP since my purchase last year are about sales. That's it. For a company as seemingly customer-focused as WP, this is a huge miss.

Buying glasses online is still somewhat novel for people. Certainly not as novel as it was in 2005, but it is not quite at a Zappos level of comfort. WP has the unique opportunity to step up and say, "Hey! We know you got these great glasses, and we want to make sure you're happy with your purchase." Even a brief, personal tweet or email a week or two post-purchase would have done wonders.

Yes, this means extra time and money. And yes, there's a chance I'd be bothered by more contact from them - that's why they would let me opt-out. But I would happily exchange the "BIG SALE COMING UP!" communications for something smaller and more reassuring.

It's not like my Warby Parker experience stopped the day I received my glasses. In reality, that's when my day-to-day with them just started - and isn't it strange that the company that made them chose that time to no longer be involved in my experience?