It makes sense for Wayfair to keep spreading its branding and marketing wings as e-commerce takes the bulk of sales from brick-and-mortar stores—and during the holiday season, that underscores the tectonic shift in how Americans buy things.
The Boston-based provider of home furnishings, decor and other domestic goods has launched a variety of new initiatives, ranging from an original new TV show on Lifetime, The Way Home—its first foray into branded entertainment; to investments in 3D visuals and VR to digitally “merchandise” its wares; to the creation of gift registries for weddings and so on; to offers of more flexible financing; to international forays including Canada, the UK and Germany; to an expansion of 40 private labels that now account for about one-third of sales.
“We believe we are taking a third to 40 percent of the US online dollar growth in our categories,” CEO Niraj Shah told investors recently. “We believe the strength of our offering, including vast product selection, inspiring visual merchandising, helpful customer service, and fast shipping and delivery have positioned us as a beneficiary of that trend and allows us to take such a significant share of the dollars as they move online.”
Wayfair’s touch is very evident this holiday season. For instance, Wayfair features seasonal items in outdoor settings online, including photos that are created from 3D models of its furniture and holiday season items.
— Wayfair.com (@Wayfair) November 29, 2016
“Once modeled, as seasons change,” Shah explained, “we can easily swap in appropriate decor. We know this type of imagery can help inspire our customer to make a purchase.”
brandchannel talked with Wayfair executives Courtney Lawrie (director of brand marketing), Mike Festa (director of R&D lab) and Julie Cassetina (PR manager) about how Wayfair is using smart partnerships, original programming and tech innovations like VR to grow its business and brand.
— Wayfair.com (@Wayfair) November 27, 2016
bc: How is The Way Home going? It’s a huge investment to produce an original TV series —interestingly, with Lifetime rather than the Scripps Networks, where Wayfair has a branded integration partnership with HGTV and Food Network?
Courtney Lawrie: The Way Home has been a really fun project to work on and a unique show for our customers. We created a new lifestyle talk show that we didn’t think really existed. It combines commerce and content in one experience. As a customer thinking about how I shop for clothes, I want to buy what I see people wearing. That’s what we’re doing for the home: ‘Here are some ideas and where you can buy it.’
bc: With the proliferation of home decor shows, nothing like this has been done before in that whole genre?
Courtney Lawrie: Exactly. Our goal was to empower real people to make good design choices for the home. Not everyone can hire a home decorator or a designer, so we bring tips and tricks to the masses.
bc: Your first US national TV campaign (“The Musical” — watch below) featured your own employees. What kind of response have you received?
Courtney Lawrie: They were really fun and very fitting to our brand, which is down-to-earth and fun. The idea is to empower people to make these big decisions for their home, and the ads have gotten a really good reception.
The musical ads especially tend to perform well for us. Awareness has grown quite a bit over the year, and one reason is that people get to know us for that jingle. And it’s created some excitement internally, which is a good thing. Lots of people vie to get into the commercials.
bc: Wayfair is investing heavily in 3D visuals to bring your products and inventory to life. What role does VR and 36o-degree video play in enhancing the customer experience and differentiating the Wayfair brand?
Mike Festa: This is the future of visualization for customers. Traditionally, people have looked at lifestyle imagery only from a fixed point of view. We wanted to immerse the customer on the inside and give them a virtual showroom and a sense of how everything comes together.
We’re also using augmented reality in customers’ homes so they can see how things are going to fit, like projecting a new couch into your living room. It stays spatially accurate and anchored to the floor as you walk around.
This will be a new platform for us, like web and mobile. Consumers’ options for technology that uses AR and VR will see massive growth. We want to stay ahead of the curve and be an industry leader.
bc: What is your growth strategy beyond the US?
Julie Cassetina: We are excited about the marketing opportunity in the UK, Germany and Canada, and we’re optimistic about our ability to leverage the techniques we have developed in the US over many years.
Specifically, Canada is continuing to see very strong growth from what Wayfair believes is a market with enormous opportunity.
Wayfair UK and Germany are also performing well—Germany is earlier in the development cycle, but the product selection and response from customers is showing great progress, and beginning to drive meaningful growth.
Below, watch Wayfair’s US national TV campaign, “The Musical” —