Warby Parker Is Using Augmented Reality to Help People Find Frames That Fit

It uses Apple’s AR developer kit

Warby Parker's new AR tool works with the latest iPhones. Warby Parker
Headshot of Marty Swant

Before Warby Parker built an empire of hip, sleek, eyeglass shops around the U.S., it managed to convince people to do the once unthinkable: buy glasses online. Now, the company hopes to get people to try something else new: trying on frames with augmented reality.

The New York-based company today debuted a tool within its mobile app that lets shoppers use AR technology to better gauge how frames fit them. While Warby Parker previously had a feature that let users map a digital mock-up to their face, it didn’t always provide an accurate picture of how it might look to wear them in real life.

Using Apple’s augmented reality developer kit along with depth-perception camera technology, anyone with an iPhone X, XR or XS will be able to use the feature, which Warby Parker is calling the Virtual Try-On.

For the unfamiliar, the brand’s direct-to-consumer business model lets shoppers pick out five frames to have sent home to try on. If they find one they like, they can add in their prescription information online and receive their custom pair in the mail a few week later. The offering has allowed the company to offer frames and lenses starting at $99.

“Shopping for glasses is challenging for most people,” Warby Parker CEO and co-founder Dave Gilboa said in a statement. “It’s one of the only products you wear on your face, and slight differences in sizing or shape can have a dramatic effect on whether a frame fits well or not.”

Warby Parker isn’t the first to company to use AR to size up on an e-commerce product. Furniture brands including Wayfair and Ikea have created AR-enabled apps that let shoppers see how couches, tables and other products might look and fit at home. And, based on how increasingly popular Warby Parker has been, using AR might help anyone unfamiliar with the technology interact with it for the first time. Cosmetics brands including L’Oreal and Sephora have already begun using AR to help show how products look on people’s skin.

@martyswant martin.swant@adweek.com Marty Swant is a former technology staff writer for Adweek.