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Warby Parker is a well-known organization that is located in the USA and headquartered in New York. The company has operated successfully for 8 years already, offering high-quality products to numerous clients. In particular, it is focused on the provision of “high-quality, fashionable, and reliable frames at affordable prices” (“Careers at Warby Parker,” 2018, para. 1). The organization manufactures frames that are likely to appeal to a wide population. Warby Parker operates in more than 60 countries all over the world. The company has several stores in the US and engages in various e-marketing activities. In this way, Warby Parker turns out to be tightly connected with information technology (IT). The purpose of this paper is to show how Warby Parker uses IT to develop its business, remain competitive, and enhance its overall performance.
IT and the Business Model
Warby Parker is a customer-oriented company. Utilizing information technology, it manages to provide its products directly to clients without the necessity to involve any third parties. In this way, it receives an opportunity to enhance customer loyalty, as clients tend to get in tight contact with the company’s representatives. In addition to that, buyers can be sure that their purchase will not be broken or lost during delivery.
Warby Parker is focused on its clients and does its best to benefit them. It is concerned about the fact that “more than 700 million people worldwide need glasses but don’t have access to them” (“Warby Parker,” 2018, para. 4). The company addresses this issue, minimalizing prices and allowing its clients to donate a pair of glasses to those in need. This approach became possible, as Warby Parker cut out the middleman and use IT when possible, reducing associated costs. What is more, it has a specific application that provides an opportunity for shoppers to try on various glasses (“Warby Parker,” 2018).
Being oriented on its clients, Warby Parker wants to develop positive relationships with its consumers, ensuring that they will remain loyal for a long time. IT turns out to be rather advantageous in this perspective, as it allows the company to get in contact with its market. For instance, people can provide their feedback regarding their purchases or their vision of organizational operations. Warby Parker, in its turn, can respond to them and analyze changes associated with the client’s needs and demands, focusing on the information published in social media. Finally, the company has a mobile app that makes it easier for consumers to make purchases regardless of their location.
Value Chain and Competitive Advantage
Warby Parker manages to turn its value chain into a key component of its competitive advantage:
- Inbound logistics. While the company manages the assembly process, it purchases raw materials from various suppliers: “An Italian company creates the acetone for the frame, and the company has the frames assembled in Asia before arriving in the U.S. where the lenses are edged and then inserted into the frames” (Syracuse University, 2015, para. 3). The company implements specific logistical IT software such as ePROMIS Transportation and Logistics system, which allows performing 3rd party logistics (3PL), container tracking, CRM, cross-docking, multi-scheduling, and online inventory management. According to Capterra (2018, para. 1), “ePROMIS ERP Software for Transportation Industry backs all aspects of the process right from planning and execution to payment.” This allows Warby Parker to ensure smooth inbound logistics operations.
- Operations. The company’s operations are centralized, which helps minimalize issues associated with various processes. The production begins with frame manufacturing and ends with aftersales, ensuring that the whole process is efficient. The majority of competitors do not create their products themselves, which increases production costs. Warby Parker utilizes MRP (Material Requirements Planning) software as a means of planning, inventory, and scheduling control systems to manage its manufacturing processes across the globe. Its primary MRP tool is Cetec ERP, which “enables companies to efficiently adapt to meet strict customer and audit (ISO, ITAL, etc.) requirements in medical, military, and other high-margin markets” (“Cetec ERP,” 2018, para. 1).
- Outbound logistics. To provide clients with purchased products, Warby Parker uses IT. Even though the company has several retail stores, the majority of sales are made on the Internet, with the products being delivered to the customer’s doorstep. To manage its online commerce, Warby Parker implements CRM (Customer Relationship Management) software, which helps manage various aspects of customer service, such as replying to emails, addressing customer concerns and keeping contact, as well as handling deliveries and performing other market duties. The company’s primary CRM tool is Zoho, which is a “customer relationship lifecycle management solution for managing organization-wide Sales, Marketing, Customer Support & Service and Inventory Management in a single business system” (“Zoho CRM,” 2018, para. 1).
- Marketing and sales. Warby Parker does its best to attract additional customers and expanding its market share. The company is present on the most popular social media websites, which allows it to advertise its products and get to know clients’ preferences. In addition to that, it provides at-home services that presuppose an opportunity to try on eyewear before purchasing it with the help of online orders. Warby Parker works with Marketo, which, according to Pozin (2013, para. 2), “is one of the biggest and most established marketing automation companies, which makes it easy to launch and manage marketing campaigns.”
- Service. Being a client-centered company, Warby Parker does its best to enhance a product’s value. For instance, the company gathers customer feedback regarding obtained products and offers customer support. Customer feedback and customer support are also managed using Zoho CRM software, as it provides support for such functions (“Zoho CRM,” 2018).
- Support activities. IT provides an opportunity for the company’s employees to get in contact with each other and share information about products. It allows supervising selling activities and creating regular reports. Cetec ERP software covers the majority of these activities, as it provides a tool for report generation and monitoring of the manufacturing process (“Cetec ERP,” 2018).
Ways to Deal with Competition
Even though currently Warby Parker implements various software to maximize its efficiency, the company should consider the possibility of future improvements and ways to “expand sales in developed countries and improve distribution in emerging countries” (FIA Team, 2015). The competitive market is fierce, and other companies seek ways of copying Warby Parker’s current business model.
First of all, the company should consider the opportunity of a customized search. Data about each client should be stored and then used to make it easier for them to find those items that are more likely to appeal to them. Secondly, Warby Parker should develop a loyalty program that benefits its clients more than those developed by its competitors. It is possible to offer the same advantage for a positive comment on a social media platform. Finally, Warby Parker can provide an opportunity for creating customized eyewear.
Collaboration between companies can provide an opportunity to reach out to new markets, increase the company’s customer base, and enhance brand awareness. Warby Parker can cooperate with various small producers and suppliers to streamline product development and production processes. In particular, the company should consider the possibility of working together with Lululemon. This company offers various clothes for “yoga, running, training, and most other sweaty pursuits”; however, many people occupied in these activities also require glasses to protect their eyes or enhance their vision (Lululemon, 2018, para. 1). Unfortunately, ordinary frames turn out to be rather slippery and unfit for physical activities, as glasses tend to glide down and break. Being aware of this problem, Warby Parker can develop specific products that meet the needs of Lululemon’s clients. Through this partnership, the company is likely to reach a new market and increase its revenue.
Warby Parker implements IT solutions in nearly every aspect of its business, which allows the company to maintain its competitive edge and slowly expand its customer base. The company achieves better product quality by streamlining and centralizing its production processes while diversifying its supply chain to minimize expenses. The company remains aware of the changing trends in the eyewear industry by closely monitoring the market and utilizing dedicated marketing information software to do so. Should a competitor attempt to copy Warby Parker’s existing business model, the company is likely to optimize its systems and expand the array of available services and products to offer additional benefits to its clients. One of the potential routes of expanding the existing market share and reaching for new customers involves strategic collaboration with Lululemon.
Capterra. (2018). ePROMIS transportation and logistics. Web.
Careers at Warby Parker. (2018). Web.
Cetec ERP. (2018). Web.
FIA Team. (2015). Warby Parker case: One-for-one model in eyewear. Web.
Lululemon. (2018). About us. Web.
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Pozin, I. (2013). 15 marketing software that could boost your business. Forbes. Web.
Syracuse University. (2015). Online retailers take innovative approach to supply chain management. Web.
Warby Parker. (2018). Web.
Zoho CRM. (2018). Web.