Eyebuydirect Rebrands, Focuses On Individuality

Eyebuydirect is rebranding, inviting people to see it as a source for glasses that express their individuality. The company hopes that strategy will further differentiate the brand in a fast-changing category.

The online eyewear provider, owned by vision giant EssilorLuxottica, has more than doubled its sales since the pandemic's beginning. CEO Sunny Jiang tells D2C Insider why that's made this the right time for rebranding and a new ad campaign.

D2C Insider: Why the new brand positioning now? What's changing?

Sunny Jiang: It's a reflection of our growth ambitions. About a year ago, we realized our brand's purpose wasn't clear enough. We'd been growing fast, and we wanted a purpose that would help the brand resonate with customers and to better communicate with them. We did a lot of research, listening to customers and our team. And what emerged is the idea of using eyewear to celebrate people's individuality. We want to help people be confident and perform their best.

D2C Insider: You've got many types of customers, from bargain hunters who love your $6 frames to those looking for the latest styles. How does the new positioning play to different segments?

Jiang: Yes, we've got many types and about 4,000 styles. Most customers are between 18 and 70. Some use prescriptions, and some don't. Some just want sunglasses. So we're constantly varying the campaigns and content that people see. We're pretty agile. After two or three days, we understand what's working with each segment and what isn't.

Slightly more of our customers are female. And there is a core group of loyalists, 18 to 45, who come to us at least twice a year. And since the pandemic, we've been capturing more in the 40 to 60 group, often looking for bifocals and progressive lenses.

D2C Insider: How does marketing content fit in?

Jiang: If you're new, we invite you to take a quiz. If you're a frequent shopper, we steer you toward newer offers. If you clicked in through a banner promoting $6 frames, we're pointing you to value frames. And we're always varying the content on social media.

D2C Insider: Eyebuydirect started in 2006 when buying glasses online seemed radically different to many people. Companies like Zenni and Warby Parker made it more mainstream, and the pandemic fueled growth. How do you maintain your edge, even as others -- including Warby Parker -- are losing money?

Jiang: The first important thing is our business model, doing everything in-house -- from design to manufacturing. That takes some pressure off, including those that come from supply chain issues and inflation. Agility also helps with our ability to launch things quickly. And our culture plays a big part. Our core value is that we work as a team with common goals and a common language.

D2C Insider: How many pairs of glasses do most people have?

Jiang: We did research with YouGov and found that 92% of consumers have one to five pairs of eyeglasses, and 72% have one to five pairs of sunglasses. We've got millions of active customers -- many make purchases about twice a year. And when they come to us and browse, they usually buy two pairs at once. We encourage that with "buy one, get one" offers.

D2C Insider: Three to six months from now, which metrics will tell you if this new positioning was successful -- beyond sales?

Jiang: We're tracking brand awareness. Regular surveys of our customers are meaningful. We learn so much from our customer call center and do a deep analysis of that feedback every month. Engagement is important -- are they clicking on content, and how much time are they spending with it? And, of course, if it's a successful rebranding, it'll drive site traffic higher.

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