Wayfair is one of the best known furniture retailers in the United States and beyond. They sell their furniture all over the world and are well known for the quality of their products and the choice that there is available. Even people who have never ordered anything from Wayfair are still aware of them. Here are twenty facts about Wayfair that you may not have been aware of.
1. They Operate Entirely Online
There is a reason that you have never seen a Wayfair store in a shopping mall. All of their products are only available online. This is fairly unusual for a furniture store because most of them will have showrooms where customers can go and see the products first hand. However, this has not done any harm in terms of their success and it also gives them a unique selling point. They have a lot of tools and features on their website that customers can use to ensure that they are happy with the products that they have chosen.
2. It Was Originally Called CSN Stores
Wayfair was founded by Niraj Shah and Steve Conine and it was originally called CSN stores. The name was chosen as it was a mixture of their initials. As the company expanded they sold different types of products on several niche websites. In 2011 they decided to combine all of these websites under the Wayfair brand. Shah and Conine still remain with the company to this day, serving as CEO and Chairman respectively. There have been a lot of changes since the business was first started but Shah and Conine have always been at the helm.
3. It Was Founded In 2002
Wayfair is still a relatively new company compared to some furniture stores that are well established in the United States. The company has grown quickly and this has meant that it has had to adapt fairly quickly to the challenges that this growth has created. Although online shopping was still popular back in 2002, it was nowhere near the level that it is at now. Operating solely online may have been a bit of a gamble at the time but it is certainly something that appears to have paid off. It may have been the case that the company would have purchased a physical store at some point but the need never arose.
4. Originally They Only Sold Storage Units
When Wayfair first started trading they only sold storage units for CDs and a small amount of other storage furniture. This decision was made based on research the two owners had carried out about what people were buying online and where the demand was. They started to expand to garden furniture in 2003 before adding more and more items as time went on. When Shah and Conine first started the business they were confident that it would be a success. However, even they may have been surprised at the level of success that they have achieved.
5. It Expanded To International Markets In 2008
Wayfair had only been trading for six years when it expanded out to international markets. It has experienced steady growth in the United States during this time and the company decided that it was time to expand into Canada and the United Kingdom. At the same time they opened their first office that was not located in the United States in London. They expanded again into Germany a year later. Today they sell their products in most European countries and an office in Belfast is the base for their European operations. Their sales overseas continue to grow on an annual basis.
6. It Is The Fastest Growing E-Commerce Retailer In The United States
When it comes to actual sales, Wayfair ranks third behind Amazon and QVC in the United States for the amount of sales that they make. However, if you are measuring the rate at which the company has grown then Wayfair is the clear winner. No other e-commerce company has experienced such a high level of growth in such a short time. Wayfair is unique in that they have managed to be able to grow so quickly in such a short amount of time and have been able to cope with all the demands that this has thrown at them.
7. The Owners Met At University
Niraj Shah and Steve Conine met while they were both at university. They both studied at Cornell University and shared some of the same classes. They had also previously owned a couple of other businesses together before they decided to set up Wayfair. When they made the decision to start selling storage units and other furniture they did not have an office to work out of, or anywhere to keep the products that they were selling. They had to use a makeshift headquarters which was based in the nursery of Conine’s home and they were here for some time.
8. The Headquarters Of The Company Is In Boston
The company has had several addresses for their headquarters over the years but they have always been in Boston. Their current address is 4 Copley Place and they have been at this location since 2014. Copley Place is a shopping center that has office space above it. Their offices are located over several floors and are decorated with furnishings that the company sells. The decision was made to move to these new offices because it gives the company the opportunity to expand in the future if needed. The company have said in the past that there has never been any intention to move out of Boston.
9. Almost 10,000 People Work For The Company
The number of people that are employed by Wayfair is almost at the 10,000 mark and it may not be long before this figure is reached. As well as the employees that work in the headquarters, the company also has warehouses all over the world which require a lot of staff to keep them running. As the company continues to grow then there will be more opportunities created both in existing company buildings and any new ones which may be built. The company does not have a lot of staff turnover because of the culture that it tries to create in their workplaces.
10. Some Of Their Employees Form A Virtual Workforce
As Wayfair only operate online then this gives them a great deal of flexibility in terms of the way that they can organise their employees. Part of their workforce are known as virtual employees and they work from home rather than from a physical workplace. They are still paid an hourly wage and will be expected to be available for the hours that they are being paid for. Virtual employees will carry out tasks such as customer service via live chat or responding to queries via email. It is a good option for people who may find it difficult to travel into a physical workplace.
11. Their Products Regularly Feature In Magazines
Wayfair are known for selling items that are very practical, but this does not mean that they are not very stylish as well. There are a number of magazines such as Better Homes And Gardens and Beautiful Home that feature Wayfair products on a regular basis. This is one way that people can get inspiration for the products that they want in their home and it also raises awareness of the company. As well as featuring in lifestyle magazines, Wayfair products have also featured in other publications such as the New York Times.
12. They Offer An Online Interior Design Service
A new feature that Wayfair have recently launched is for their customers to have a virtual appointment with an interior designer. This appointment can be useful if customers are looking for some inspiration for design ideas in their home. They can discuss colour schemes and the different types of furniture that may be available. The interior designer will listen to the ideas that the customer has for their home and then make suggestions based on these ideas. They may also be able to suggest something that the customer has not thought of before.
13. They Have A Mobile App
Wayfair have a mobile app which makes the whole process of browsing through products and making a purchase much simpler. All of the products that can be found on the website are also available on the app. When a customer finds a product that you want to buy then this can be purchased straight from the app. Customers can have confidence that all of their personal information is safe when they use the app as all data is encrypted. The app is very easy to navigate which makes it easy to find the product that is needed.
14. There Are Over 10 Million Items Available
The motto of Wayfair is ‘ A Zillion Things Home’ and there are certainly a large amount of items that they sell. It is estimated that there are over ten million items currently on sale on the site. Wayfair work with over ten thousand suppliers in order to provide these items for their customers. There may be some restrictions on products that can be purchased depending on area but no matter where a customer lives, they will still have access to wide range of products. There are also products that will suit every budget.
15. They Have 12.8 Million Active Customers
Wayfair have over 12 million active customers from all over the world that make purchases from the company on a regular basis. The nature of the furniture business is that people may make a large purchase at some point but then it could be several years before they buy something else. However, Wayfair also sell a lot of smaller items that people purchase on a more regular basis which is one reason why Wayfair has so many active customers. It also shows that customers are happy with the products that they purchase from the company so that they become repeat customers.
16. They Publish 100 Pieces Of Content Online Every Month
It is well known in the world of marketing that a good way to attract customers to their website is to create content that it useful to them. This is something that Wayfair is on board with and they publish on average one hundred pieces of unique content every month. This could be pieces that are posted on their own blog as well as things that are posted elsewhere. They also have active social media accounts where they can advertise and connect with customers. All of these methods play a big part in the overall marketing strategy for the company.
17. They Spend Over $500 Million On Advertising Every Year
A large part of the profit that the company makes each year is spent on the advertising budget. The theory behind this is that it is worth reinvesting in marketing because this will bring in more revenue in the future. A lot of their advertising takes place online which makes sense as they are a company that only operates online. They use Instagram as one of their main forms of advertising because photos of homes that have their products works particularly well on this platform. They also advertise on TV in all the countries that their products are sold in.
18. The First 'Way Day' Sale Was Held In April 2018
Many online retailers hold their own flash sales on particular days where the price on selected products are dramatically reduced. One of the best known examples of this is Amazon Prime Day. Wayfair held their own version for the first time in April 2018 which was called the ‘Way Day’ sale. This was met with a degree of success in terms of sales, which were a lot higher than they would have been on a normal day. However, some feedback from customers suggested that they would have preferred bigger discounts as it did not really feel all that different from a normal sale.
19. It Is The Largest Online Furniture Retailer In The United States
There are many furniture retailers in the United States that are for more well established than Wayfair. These retailers have physical stores but also sell products online alongside this. However, there is no other store that makes as many online furniture sales as Wayfair which is an impressive claim to be able to make. This is testament to the way that the company is run and the vision that they had in the early days. It also looks like the largest online furniture retailer in the United States is a title that they look set to hold on to in the next few years at least.
20. All Of Their Offices Are Open Plan
The working culture of Wayfair is that it is a team effort and everyone is in it together. This is why no one has their own office in any of their office buildings. Everyone works together in an open plan environment so that a real sense of teamwork is created. The open plan setting also makes it easier for different departments to collaborate with each other which improves efficiency within the business. This can be quite a noisy environment and so the company do provide spaces where their employees can relax and get a bit of peace and quiet.
Written by Garrett Parker
Read more posts by Garrett Parker