Warby Parker is a famous eyewear provider. designed by their team. Their mission is to change the eye wear industry and prove that having modern and quality eyeglasses isn’t a luxury.
Warby was founded in 2010, and since then it has built a strong brand with a phenomenal customer satisfaction program. Moreover, Warby Parker has a few stores across the US and they are the best-reviewed stores on Yelp. These reviews and ratings give them social proof, strong SEO and convert people who want to buy online.
In the beginning they had the Home-Try-On program that allowed customers to try five frames at home for free. This strategy is an excellent customer acquisition strategy that isn’t scalable but acquires customers very quickly.
After they sell the first pair of glasses, they also pay for the production of another pair for individuals in need. This buy-a-pair, give-a-pair program has got great press coverage and Warby has distributed half a million pairs with this strategy.
The real growth engines at Warby Parker are social media channels. They convert more than 50% customers through viral and extremely catchy social media content. They engage Tumblr and Pinterest followers and share their photos on Facebook and Twitter.
Warby Parker’s emails are unique and engage users with silly videos, funny comments and phrases. On average, an email from Warby Parker is shared up to 80 times. They know how important video is for mobile users, so all videos are optimized for mobile sharing.
Warby Parker has raised $215.5 million so far and is worth $1.2 billion. This is an example of how to implement great growth strategies and achieve ‘unicorn’ status in the first five years.
Udemy is a platform for certified and non-certified courses for self-improvement in different fields. Udemy was founded in 2010 and now has more than 16,000 courses. Every user can pay for courses and also create a course and earn money through the platform. From May 2014 to May 2015, Udemy had a 300% growth rate and raised $48 million in funding.
In the beginning Udemy had trouble creating content quickly (a classic egg-chicken problem), but they used a strategy similar to the one Quora had already implemented. They took the courses from the OpenCourseWare because their materials were free to use online. Udemy could say that their first 100 courses had come from prestigious universities like Stanford, Yale and MIT. This was a great way to get the attention from tech press like Mashable and TechCrunch. After their press coverage, Udemy got approximately 10,000 users.
They raised their first founding round of $1 million, and this amount of money was enough to get professional instructors and academics on board. However, Udemy didn’t have anything catchy until they decided to film meetings with their investors. The course named “Raising Capital for Startups” was released in different formats, and each format brought between $30,000 and $50,000 to Udemy. The platform got real traction and showed their investors its potential.
Instructors started earning more money than they used to, and in May 2013 Udemy reported that top 10 instructors had earned more than $1.6 million by selling their courses. Although Udemy is very successful now, they had to face many challenges, and building a highly scalable online-learning platform was the biggest one for sure. A combination of site optimization, A/B testing and different referral programs helped them find the best growth strategies.
These strategies got them a high level of customer satisfaction and a word of mouth that increased their LTV. Udemy is just one great example of how you can stand out from the crowd even if you have very strong competitors.