United Kingdom


Cubitts was founded on the belief that bad eyesight is a blessing, not a curse. That spectacles should be loved, not tolerated. Wanted, not needed. We sat down with Joe Bell, Cubitts' Head of Experience, who knows this first-hand—he was Cubitts’ first employee.

I have been with Cubitts since 2012, so it's been a long time since Tom, the founder, started it in his living room. For the majority of that time, I was Head of Operations. I ran everything from supply chain to fulfilment to their end customer and customer experience. Now, my title is Head of Experience. I'm responsible for the customer journey across all channels – online, retail, and wholesale.

It was fun to watch Cubitts’ growth as fans first and now hear it through Joe’s perspective.

It's pretty surreal to think back. Nearly 12 have flown by in many ways, but it also seems like a lifetime ago since we were in Tom's living room, from coming up with the idea to building the first website. Looking back at it, we had no clue what we were doing, so seeing how far we’ve come has been incredible.

Along that journey, they came across Swap.

We have quite a complex tech stack. We're in the process of trying to simplify that complication, and we came across Swap. We looked at various options. Swap was the most approachable in tailoring the warranty, repairs, and returns to what we needed.

Their problems were across multiple touchpoints in the customer experience.

The problem for us was needing an online self-service warranty, repairs, or returns option for our customers. There was a lot of friction when anybody wanted to send something back to us.
We started by taking on Repairs with Swap. Initially, this whole process was done offline—customers could send their frames to us, we replaced the lenses with an updated prescription or a different type of lens, and then we sent them back. At the time, customers had to reach out to us, and then we had various ways of setting up the return, creating a label, and manually emailing with confirmation.

Previously, customers had several steps to complete to process a repair.

A customer who wanted to repair their glasses at the time had to dig through the website, which explained that there was something we could do, but we hid it on the site and needed to think it through better. We do this in the retail environment, where customers can come in and hand over their frames. But if they cannot come to a store physically, they would always have to reach out by email or phone, which started with a series of questions from us that initiated a long back and forth. Then, we’d eventually process the return order manually to begin the repair process. This process didn’t offer customers a very seamless experience.

Now, that has all changed.

Since introducing the repairs portal, we’ve seen a 25 percent increase in usage of our repairs offering. So far, this is only available for prescription services. We wanted to keep it at a volume we could manage and not overwhelm our operations since this is a crucial service we want to scale. We plan to launch it for sunglasses during the peak season, June - August, when we expect another increase in use. We also plan to offer it internationally – at the moment, it’s only for the U.K. because of the logistics, economics, and environmental impact of cross-border returns. Within the first 12 months of being in the U.S., we plan to launch it there as we have ambitious plans to grow.

Swap is a global growth partner for all parts of your operations – especially in the U.S.

America is already our second biggest market, without any physical stores. It is larger than the rest of the world combined. We’re excited to open our flagship New York store next month. We want to do something similar to what we did in the U.K. at a quicker pace: open one key store in a major market, then four or five more over the next five years. In the U.K., we now have 16 stores. We want to continue building at a reasonable pace. We're not a brand that sets out to grow for the sake of growth.We will eventually repair all our products bought in the U.S. to extend their lifetime. We can start once we have our base next month.

The change benefits not just customers—operation teams also save 5 minutes per order or 6+ hours per week.

It’s at least five minutes per order saved across 75 orders per week, which is a significant amount of time.

There’s also the peace of mind of receiving the items back seamlessly.

When things come back via Swap, the customers have already been on the portal and have explained their situation. The operation team can see the label reference number there, which makes everything easy to find.  When the team receives a big sack from Royal Mail and sees it’s from Swap, they breathe a sigh of relief—   That’s an easy one.
United Kingdom
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