Seeing Clearly: How KITS Co-founder Roger Hardy has found repeated success in the DTC Eyewear Space through a customer-first approach

By Mission

Imagine this… it’s 1999, and you and your sibling decide to start an ecommerce company with just a phone line, a 14k modem, a ping pong table, and a credit card. You build a website, find a product that has unnecessary margins, and decide to just.. do it better yourself. Feeling bullish on this ending? Well we are. Because that’s exactly what Roger Hardy did when building his first company called Coastal Contacts, which grew to be the world’s largest omni channel eyewear retailer. The success couldn’t be ignored, and soon after, Coastal was acquired. But one part of that sibling duo, Roger Hardy, couldn’t stay away from the eyewear game forever. He re-entered the space in 2019 with his new company, Kits.com, and by the end of 2021 the business will have already eclipsed $100 million in revenue.On this episode of Up Next in Commerce, Roger and I got to chat about some of his secrets to success in the D2C world of eyewear. We dove into the importance of vertical integration, what the link is between a company’s NPS and its valuation, and how to think about hiring if you want to go from 1 to 25 to 100 to 300 and beyond. Enjoy this episode!   Main Takeaways:Who’s In Control?: Vertical integration has been a hallmark of many successful DTC eCommerce companies. When you control all the levers of production, you not only can cut costs and offer customers prices they will love, you also no longer have to worry about delays or logistics problems that otherwise would be out of your control and set you back for untold periods of time.Blend It Together: While you might have an idea of what you want to sell, if you focus only on offering your own premium products, you leave out an entire customer base that might be looking for something a bit different. By offering all kinds of products, you open the door to other customers who might not have found you otherwise. Then, once they are in the funnel, you can blow them away with a quality experience so they keep coming back for more, which is when you can present them with your product options.Beyond Basic: As you begin to scale, there comes a point when you have to think bigger than just hiring to fill roles. Even if the person is smart and a cultural fit, the aim needs to shift to attracting and hiring people who are the best in the world in every department.For an in-depth look at this episode, check out the full transcript below. Quotes have been edited for clarity and length.---Up Next in Commerce is brought to you by Salesforce Commerce Cloud. Respond quickly to changing customer needs with flexible Ecommerce connected to marketing, sales, and service. Deliver intelligent commerce experiences your customers can trust, across every channel. Together, we’re ready for what’s next in commerce. Learn more at salesforce.com/commerce---For a full transcript of this interview, click here.  

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