Warby Parker rival Eyebobs has said it will soon be opening two brick-and-mortar locations later this summer: one in the Mall of America and one in Orlando's Florida Mall, according to recent Retail Dive reports. The firm first began testing the concept last October at its Minneapolis-based Glenwood Avenue headquarters.
Eyebobs' move reflects something of a trend among current online sellers, despite the mall-based retail apocalypse narrative that is prominent today. While online shopping has taken something of a bite out of the real world, and mobile has very much changed consumer habits, shoppers are still doing the vast, vast majority of their shopping in physical stores.
Previously online-only, Warby Parker has already made the jump to brick and mortar and is currently planning an expansion of its physical offerings.
To mark its products as distinct, though, competitor Eyebobs will leverage a new position that it is calling the “Bobtender” in its brick and more locations. Those Bobtenders will work as stylists, providing customers with not only fittings but also styling advice. On top of ensuring customers look good while improving their vision, Eyebobs also has plans to continue offering a core of eye care services like custom prescriptions, as well as grab-and-go options like readers and sunglasses.
The brick-and-mortar expansion is led by CEO Mike Hollenstein, who joined the company in 2017, and the firm is on track for 30 percent revenue growth by the end of this year, according to internal figures.
The goal of the new physical offering might be to drive younger customers to the shop. Millennials are channel-agnostic and will buy online or in store as need or mood demands, but Generation Z members tend to favor the in-store experience more than their older brothers and sisters.