Warby Parker is continuing to find innovative ways to stand out among its competitors in the rising market of remote prescription renewals. Photo: Warby Parker.

Following the recent launch of the company’s updated virtual vision test app, Warby Parker announced plans to expand its reach even further into eyecare, including more physical stores, upped philanthropy efforts and a more “holistic” approach with a goal of seeking a greater portion of revenue from eye exams and contact lens sales. As part of the company’s recent investor day webcast presentation, Warby Parker executives also discussed the company’s upcoming public stock offering launch, following its official filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission last month.

This imminent direct listing is a milestone for Warby Parker’s next phase of growth, says Brian Chou, OD, of San Diego.

“Expect them to continue ramping up customer acquisition efforts to gain market share in eyeglass sales—but now also with contact lens sales and eye exams,” Dr. Chou says.

Implications of growth include increasing competition against other online contact lens sellers like 1-800 Contacts, greater influence with vision plans and future partnerships with laser vision correction networks as Warby Parker expands into services, Dr. Chou predicts.

“An interesting dynamic is to what extent Warby Parker will direct patient traffic to its network of eyecare providers vs. encouraging remote prescription renewal,” he says.

Company executives suggested several avenues to increase the company’s estimated 1% to 2% share of the US eyeglasses market, pointing to a third-party study that estimated Warby Parker could open up to 900 stores in the United States as it expands from 53 markets to more than 100.

In Warby Parker’s direct stock offering later this month, about 77 million shares are expected. The firm’s amended Form S-1 registration, filed late last week with the Securities and Exchange Commission, indicated that the company expects to begin trading on the NYSE around September 29.

The amended filing also noted that during the first half of this year, about two million shares were sold in private transactions at a price of $24.53 each. If the company listed its shares at that price, Warby Parker would command a fully diluted market value of $2.9 billion, according to a news report about the offering.

The company had 142 US stores as of the end of its second quarter in June, in addition to three locations in Canada, and it estimated there are about 41,000 optical outlets currently operating across the United States. Warby Parker expects to open up to 35 new stores this year.

Considering future philanthropic ventures, Warby Parker’s filing noted that it will become “a public benefit corporation” and has various charitable intentions through a foundation and donation model of giving away eyewear when customers purchase their own set.

Executives suggested the company has many opportunities to improve the ways it engages with customers, including opening more retail stores, investing in pioneering technology such as telemedicine or virtual try-on and improving its buy-a-pair, give-a-pair program.

The full investor day webcast presentation can be accessed here.

Warby Parker outlines plans for growth, store expansion and evolution to a “holistic” vision care company as it readies public stock offering. Vision Monday. September 13, 2021. www.visionmonday.com/business/retailers/article/warby-parker-outlines-plans-for-growth-store-expansion-and-evolution-to-a-holistic-vision-care-company-as-it-readies-public-stock-offering/?uid=31BD62136C131310AB8C47C61599D876. Accessed September 13, 2021.