Metrics for Metrics Sake

Recently, Warby Parker, the self-proclaimed disruptor of the eye-glass industry, opened a retail store in my neighborhood and, after reading a number of articles about the company, I thought to pay the store a visit to see the company’s product firsthand and to experience the brand from both a consumer’s, as well as a marketer’s, perspective.

As I entered the store, a woman greeted me with a “hello,” and the next thing I heard was a loud click. As I passed the greeter, I noticed that she was carrying a handheld tally counter, the kind a ticket collector might use in a theater or a bouncer at a night club, and it appears that I was summarily counted, as I entered the store.

For some reason, as I walked around the store, I kept thinking about being counted by the greeter, and I started to wonder, why was the company or, more specifically, the marketing brain trust, interested in counting the number of people who entered the store? On a basic level, I can understand the interest in wanting to know how many people visited the store one day of the week versus another, or what the ratio was of people entering the store versus the number of sales that were made for the day but, beyond that, I was at a loss. What else could the marketing team possibly be able to interpret or extrapolate from the count of people entering the store? It’s not as if the greeter asked, was I visiting the store, because I saw a brand image ad, or received an email promotion or text message, or was referred by an eye doctor, or read a product review on a social media site, etc. Without any kind of qualitative information to supplement the raw number, what good does the raw number do from a metrics and measurement perspective?

Certainly, I applaud the company for wanting to track metrics and keep a handle on ROI, response rates, etc., but I believe this example shows that numbers alone mean very little. And, I ask again, am I missing something? I know I’m not a big data expert but, in my mind, numbers seem to make more sense when you can layer on other bits of information, and look at numbers from a qualitative perspective, as opposed to a purely quantitative one.

Not to abruptly switch gears, but from a consumer’s perspective, I had a hard time figuring out which eye glasses were for men and which were for women. On their website a distinction is made, so why not in the store? Other than that, I enjoyed the way the store was laid out and accessorized.

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