In Warby Parker's world, style isn't the only thing that shouldn't be imitated. Software shouldn't be either.
When the venture-backed start-up realized none of the 30 existing point-of-sale vendors would serve its purposes, it set out to develop its own, reports Jason Del Rey for All Things D.
The company cobbled together a solution that's one part payment management and another part customer management using a Google Nexus tablet and a credit card reader.
“Even though we felt like we found the best vendor, we realized it just wasn’t going to be a long-term tech partner for us, and the only way we were going to be able to get what we needed was to build it ourselves,” Kyle Ashley, Warby Parker’s director of retail, told Del Rey in an interview.
Warby Parker disrupted the vision space by convincing customers to buy glasses online. Now it stands to do the same with retail payments.
Rather than have clients pay for their goods at the point-of-sale, they'll be charged when their merchandise ships. What's more, clerks can enter prescription information and use technology to limit mistakes.
Beyond that, the system will store customers' purchase history, including which styles they've browsed and when. Everything is accessible from one location. On the customer side, this could improve the experience as a salesperson can easily pass on information about products. On the store side, this may improve sales. Long-term, the company hopes to use an iPad or iPod for its hardware and develop a native app for its software.
Warby Parker joins a slew of e-commerce start-ups like Bonobos and Julep that have taken their business offline. Perhaps others will buck the trend of using one-size-fits-all payment systems like Square and take a page from Warby Parker's book.