Wayfair is a fast-growing furniture and home décor online retailer, operating in the United States and some parts of the UK. It is in the A-list of online furniture retailers in the world and its growth over the years has been remarkable.
Even though Wayfair has now grown into a major furniture retailer, offering all sorts of products, it started by only selling storage units and other basic storage furniture, in 2002. The company’s founders settled on this business idea after doing an extensive search, which entailed analyzing online search patterns. In 2003, the company started showing some progress, and the two co-founders started selling garden furniture. Since then, the company has had a steady growth rate, introducing more commodities each year.
The expansion of the company has been immense, leading it into offering over 8 million products. Their suppliers have also increased to around 12,000. Among the various categories of goods the company is currently offering are living room furniture, kitchen furniture, lighting fixtures among others. It also sells beds, bedding and area rugs. Above are just some of the many categories of goods offered by the company.
Products offered by Wayfair have, over the years, proven to be of a kind. The first proof of this is the continued growth of the company’s customer base, and secondly, the minimal number of complaints and returned goods.
Besides the high quality of the products, the company’s prices have always been fair; another reason for the large market share. This, however, is not to say that all the goods offered at Wayfair are at low price rate, because then, we would start questioning their credibility. The company has different goods at different prices. In the website, is a section that enables the customer to search goods by prices, and this ensures that they find items within their budget, and still of good quality.
Briefly, on how it came to be, Wayfair was founded by two entrepreneurs, Niraj Shah, and Steve Conine, who met at Cornell University in an entrepreneurship class. They were both businessmen. They did not have any business premises where they could store their products, so they used a nursery in Conine’s home as the storage.
Being an online-operational company, Wayfair had to face various challenges during its onset. The confidence and internet awareness displayed by customers and suppliers presently, was in the rare in 2002 . In as much as some businesses had started operating online, the practice was rare and most customers preferred shopping physically from stores. It was a gamble the two founders decided to indulge and it surely paid off.
Initially, the company had various stand-alone websites that had specific categories of products. For eight years, the company created and operated over 270 separate websites. Their reason for doing this was that, having various websites with varied categories of goods would have users stumbling in one website or the other, thereby acquiring a wide share of customers. This was effective because, by 2010 the company had secured over 4.5 million customers, with the sales of approximately $380 million.
However, the approach had a negative side. Customers were not aware that the various websites they were shopping from were under the same brand, and this did not do good to the customer base of the company. This prompted the two founders to come up with a solution, and that’s when they decided to roll their 270 websites into one.
Looking at the geographical aspect, when Wayfair started, it only traded within the United States. However, in 2008, the company went international and started operating in various parts of Europe, with its base of operation in Belfast. They established an office in London, then Germany and have ever since expanded into various parts of the UK. Going international after only six years was a significant proof of the steady growth the company.
Wayfair operates entirely online. Most furniture retailers prefer the idea of having stores where their customers can see what they want to buy. Wayfair, however, prefers doing this online. It has a website where customers can access brief descriptions and images of the commodities offered, their prices and specifications.
The company has also introduced an online interior design service. This is a new feature and its principal objective is to help customers achieve the design they desire for their homes. This service, like other operations in Wayfair, is also done online. The customer is able to make a virtual appointment with one of the interior designers of the company, and seek advice. The designer does not make a choice for the customer, rather, he/she listens to the customer’s ideas, including desired color themes, then he/she offers necessary advice. Additionally, the designer can give an idea or two, which the customer may have not thought of.
The company expects that this service will save customers the trouble of having to try out numerous designs in futile. It also hopes that it will help maintain and improve its customer base.
Another significant aspect of growth of Wayfair is the steadily increasing number of employees. Even though the company does not have stores, its number of employees is more than most companies which have stores. Among its over 10,000 employees, is the virtual workforce, that works remotely, doing tasks like live chats with customers, responding to emails among others. Other employees work in the headquarters and the warehouses which are located all over United States.
The major competitor of Wayfair is Amazon. In as much as Amazon ranks first in actual sales, followed by QVC, Wayfair still tops in the list of companies that have shown the highest rate of growth. This is because, despite Amazon being founded almost a decade before Wayfair, their number of customers and their sales are not far much apart.
Wayfair was originally called CSN stores, and it was rebranded into Wayfair in 2011. The company’s headquarters is in Boston, specifically at Copley Place.
Judging from the steady growth and customer satisfaction recorded by the company over the years, its without doubt that Wayfair is the place to go in order to give your home the perfect touch.