The future of Retail by Kilian Wagner


The eyeglasses Startup that is changing how we buy them.

Killian Wagner and his team started producing handmade, 3D-printed design glasses developed in Switzerland aiming to sell them direct to consumers, through an online store. Although they developed a disruptive strategy and did very well the first months, they realized that the future of Retail is not E-commerce as many think.

They have learned that the key to the future of Retail lies on the seamlessness of THE OMNICHANNEL generation. The well designed, frictionless experience between the online world and the store experience.

The CEO of VIU gave a Ted Talk on the subject earlier this year. Here are some insights on why his company got to that conclusion: 

PARADIGM: The future of retail is e-commerce. It´s already an attractive channel for selling clothing, electronics, books and other products. But it´s not as popular when it comes to prescription eyewear. More than 50% of the population need prescription eyewear, and still, nowadays only 4% of them buy it online.  VIU´s opportunity: how to sell online such a complex product that is still successful in the brick and mortar?

They thought it was simple: design the best eyewear, produce at an accessible price, sell directly to end customers, online! They gained popularity through a simple strategy: If people cant try eyeglasses online, then send a couple of samples free of charge and let people try them and take the decision in the comfort of their home. They were successful, but still encountered a generalized lack of trust in the pure online experience. They opened the first store and immediately realized: they key to the future of retail is a combination of channels!!!

The traditional brick&morter business had a big challenge when e-commerce first got popular: high fixed cost bases that didn´t allow them to jump to e-commerce right away. They are now behind in their online store strategies. Their online/off-line worlds are complex and often present obstacles both for customers and staff instead of creating opportunities to work seamlessly.

The e-commerce based business are facing rising online acquisition costs and start realizing the disadvantage of not having physical stores. Many, are starting to build stores to catch up on the opportunity of capturing customers to bring on their online world, and the chance to provide them with real on-site brand experience.


After analyzing each world separately, Wagner concludes that the real deal lies in the frictionless between the online world and the store experience. Brands should design experiences tailored to the new generation: the omnichannel. Within this strategy, they will be able to deal directly with the customer, gain competitiveness and add value by building a brand identity. It´s the best way for brands to own the client’s relation, to get to know who purchases your products, why, and how. Interaction directly with customers is the better way of learning how they behave and therefore: what they ultimately want from your company.

To learn more, watch the TedTalk here:

All images courtesy of VIU official website:



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s