March 26, 2019
On Tuesday the Boston-based furniture e-tailer, Wayfair, announced plans to expand its already massive footprint. While Wayfair has been experimenting for some time with pop-up shops (short-term selling spaces intended to capitalize on a trend or seasonal demand) in Natick, MA and Paramus, NJ, and opened an outlet store in Florence, KY in February, this will be the company’s first full-service retail store.
Scheduled to open in Fall 2019 in the Natick Mall, the new store is expected to tighten Wayfair’s connections with consumers. Not only will customers be able to inspect and try out furniture in person, they will have the opportunity to consult with Wayfair home design experts who will provide guidance on home improvement projects, including décor selections.
Wayfair, originally know as CSN Stores, was founded in 2002 by entrepreneurs Niraj Shah (now CEO and Co-Chairman) and Steve Conine (now Co-Chairman). The company reported that its Direct Retail net revenue increased a whopping 45% in 2018 to $6.7 billion. However, still in expansion mode – ad spending exceeded $500 million in 2018 alone - the firm reported a GAAP (Generally Accepted Accounting Principles) loss of slightly more than half a billion dollars and Adjusted EBITDA (Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation and Amortization) loss of $215 million.
Wayfair’s move is yet another example of a prominent brand pursuing an “omnichannel” strategy. The company’s objective is to integrate and leverage multiple sales channels – online and in-store - in order to provide customers with a superior overall buying experience. In this case, e-commerce-focused Wayfair is moving to establish brick-and-mortar presence, much like the online behemoth Amazon, who has acquired Whole Foods and is now operating Amazon Books and Amazon Go convenience stores.
Tactics in support of an “omnichannel” strategy can drive leading retail brands in the reverse direction, as well. Walmart and Target, for example, striving to leverage their vast respective retail footprints, are encouraging customers to order online and pick up merchandise in stores and by using stores as convenient distribution hubs for home delivery.
In a Wayfair statement, CEO Niraj Shah explained, “We look forward to inviting our customers further into the world of Wayfair, welcoming them to step inside our newest shopping experience guided by the knowledgeable support and expertise of our in-store design team.”
This ecommerce industry news update is presented by Butcher Block Co. – “The Experts in All Things Butcher Block.” BB Co. is the online destination store for consumers searching for everything from a portable kitchen island to a kitchen cart.
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