redpepper Reacts: Warby Parker’s New Contacts Venture
A handful of perspectives on Scout by Warby Parker
redpepper’s #random Slack channel—a place to post about anything from industry news to the very popular “has anyone seen my laptop charger?”—was graced today with this Forbes article about Warby Parker’s new contacts brand, Scout. The article’s header image highlights the product’s bright blue and white packaging with the words “Scout by Warby Parker” across the front.
Tim, our CEO (and moderator) started the discussion, Mmm…separate brand. Wonder why they did that? Strategy people of redpepper…what do you think?
Here are the Reactions:
This could be to protect the integrity of the Warby Parker brand and what’s known for, keeping its value proposition clear and sharp. Also, a new product for new customers. People who are interested in wearing glasses really like glasses and the way they augment their appearance, these folks probably aren’t interested in just “seeing better”.
Joe, Product Account Director
Warby Parker sounds so mature and Scout sounds a lot younger. Could it be a Gen Z play?
Samara, VP Sales & Marketing
It could be a legal/brand protection thing—if the venture into contacts doesn’t work out, it limits liability for the WP brand from a legal and revenue perspective if not a branding perspective—depending on how the Scout brand is set up from a legal standpoint.
Also, this approach gives them a safe way to create their own brand of contact lenses—if Scout should fail or go away, Warby Parker could still have a viable business, especially since it sounds like they’ll also be offering name brands of competitor contacts. If the Scout brand fails, then they’ve already started selling contacts from various brands on a subscription service, increasing the likelihood that people would continue buying contacts from Warby Parker even if they had to switch from Scout to another brand.
Cat, Senior Strategist
Seems like the “New Brand by Established Brand” formula is becoming more popular. Facebook just did it to all of their brands. In Warby’s case, I think it’s a way for them to branch out and take a risk while still having that trusted, credible brand name in tiny letters to comfort the skeptics.
Jesse, Media & Content Marketing Strategist
Interesting… While getting into the contact game seems like a no brainer, I can understand why’d they be so slow to transition to contacts. When you think about it, the two big reasons their glasses were successful were because 1) they made stylish glasses at a fraction of the price and 2) they made the customer journey seamless. With contacts, they won’t be able to use the style/fashion-forward angle because contacts aren’t a fashion play. After you factor that in, it makes sense that they’d go with the New Brand by Establish Brand model because they want to maintain the same level of trust and association, but also don’t want to confuse consumers.
In the article, it mentioned that 40% of customers also wear contacts. So that would mean this new product is Warby breaking into the subscription economy more than anything else. They now have a recurring customer and perhaps a more predictable revenue stream. I’ll be fascinated to see how they market the contacts and if they’ll lean more on the product or play up the subscription angle.
Taylor, Marketing Strategist
Do you see Warby Parker’s new move through a different lens? Reach out on our socials and tell us what you think.