COASTAL’S NEW TRY BEFORE YOU BUY: Coastal.com is giving Warby Parker a run for its money, adding prescription lenses to its “Try Before You Buy” program. The original purveyor of the home-trial program for buying eyewear online, the company’s new program allows customers to receive up to four pairs of glasses with prescription lenses in place to try on at home for up to 30 days before deciding which, if any, to buy.
Roger Hardy, founder and chief executive officer, said the company was upgrading its program to include prescription lenses to the frames it sends out for trial because “customers were trying the frames on but saying ‘I can’t quite see myself with the blank lenses.’”
Launched in 2008, before its online competitor Warby Parker, the company has a broader selection of frame options, including designer brands such as Valentino, Michael Kors, Vera Wang, Vera Bradley and Lilly Pulitzer. It also manufactures the eyewear in its two factories. It also has three, six- or 12-month payment option plans, with the average order around $100. According to Hardy, the Vancouver-based company, which started as a retailer of contact lenses, has more than 5 million customers, with nearly 2.5 million in the U.S.