Practice Management

Warby Parker Opens an Optical Lab

Warby Parker’s founders, Dave Gilboa (left) and Neil Blumenthal. The company is taking the next step in delivering product faster to customers by opening its own optical labs. Photo credit: Inc. magazine.

Sept. 6, 2017

Warby Parker is taking its expansion from online refraction and eyewear seller, and fledgling bricks-and-mortar retailer, to the next level: opening its own optical labs, according to reporting from Inc. magazine, which recently interviewed the company’s founders, Neil Blumenthal and Dave Gilboa.

Earlier this year, Warby opened an optical lab–where lenses are cut, inserted into frames and shipped–in the Hudson Valley town of Sloatsburg, NY, a move that Inc. calls “a first step to taking over more of its manufacturing.”

It’s aggressively opening brick-and-mortar retail locations, and this year it will add 19 to its existing 50. In the past year, Gilboa says, such outlets brought in about half of Warby’s revenue, but in 2017, Warby is primarily a brick-and-mortar retailer.

Having its own optical lab means the company will control production and distribution, offering better-quality inspections and fewer shipping delays. Warby’s data team is analyzing additional lab locations.

What it might mean to independent ECPs is a stronger competitor that not only can deliver online refraction and eyewear shopping, but can deliver the product even faster, thanks to control of its own optical labs.

The question for ROB readers: Will this development put greater pressure on you to deliver products to patients faster, in addition to more inexpensively and virtually?

Click HERE to read the full report in Inc. magazine.

 

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