Warby Parker Flagship, NYC Fuels On/Offline Convergence
New York-based eyewear retailer Warby Parker is the latest major e-tail brand aiming to build on its digital success by adding a bricks-and-mortar store to its arsenal.
Last week on April 13, the brand opened a flagship in the Soho district of Manhattan, joining a growing number of US web-based retailers including Betabrand, Piperlime and Bonobos now straddling the on- and offline divide. (For more on why this is happening and who is currently doing it to best effect, see E-tail Gets a Physical Presence.)
Far from eschewing the brand’s technological roots, Warby Parker has shrewdly applied its digital expertise to the flagship. A key feature is a discreet tracking system that detects smartphone wi-fi signals – recording consumers’ movements around the store. The data on in-store browsing patterns will be used to help plan future store layouts.
“Now, not only can we see how many people are coming into the store, but where they are spending time,” Warby Parker co-founder Neil Blumenthal explained to American news channel CNBC. The system was created in partnership with US-based analytics start-up Nomi.
Showing its multi-channel credentials, the store also boasts a host of iPad minis so visitors can sign in to their Warby Parker accounts online and sync all their in-store purchases.
For more on how digital innovations are fuelling the physical store environment, see In-Store Interactive, Digitising the Department Store and Stylus’ analysis of this year’s South By Southwest Interactive event.
See also Stylus’ coverage of the Decoded Fashion conference in London in 2012 for more discussion on technology’s evolving relationship with the fashion industry.