Understanding the potential when customer insight is at the heart of operations
According to an article that appeared in the May 5, 2014, issue of Forbes, “Wayfair is as much a data miner as it is a retailer. It constantly probes and processes information about its customers to interact with them, anticipate their wishful thinking, personalize their home pages and turn search into a form of entertainment.”
And that was the exact message that Wayfair.com CEO and co-founder, Niraj Shah, told attendees at the 2014 Internet Retail Conference & Exhibition in his keynote speech titled, “Connecting with Consumers and Giving Them What They Want.”
“[Customers] care about inspiration and visual imagery,” he said. “They care about guidance … and they need information to help educate them. When we embarked on launching Wayfair.com, we thought that was our opportunity to be different than the others that were out there.”
For Wayfair.com, that differentiator has paid off. In the 12 years since it came onto the scene as an online retailer for cookware, home and office furniture and decor, lighting, strollers and more, the company has grown by leaps and bounds. It has featured more than 12,000 brands on its site and has accumulated upwards of $900 million in annual sales.
It’s no secret that customers love deals, but Shah explained that he and his team were dedicated to understanding what they really wanted to find when shopping on the Wayfair.com site. They asked themselves, what would it take for a customer to look at this item or that item? They questioned when and how customers would want to be exposed to new items.
What they found was that answering these questions would require serious resources to do well. And that’s why they embarked on gathering customer insight and invested in that endeavor as an underlying growth opportunity.
Along the way, Wayfair.com became privy to the way its customers found online products and how they navigated through a site. When it came to home goods, Wayfair.com learned that customers shopped visually as opposed to by price alone. Decorating a home was more about self expression than getting a good deal, they realized. And so from there, the company developed an editorial team and started rethinking the way that items could be found and filtered.
Largely attributed to its efforts to better understand its customers, Wayfair.com was placed at No. 16 on Forbes 2013 list of America’s Most Promising Companies.
To learn more about companies that are excelling in the pursuit of truly giving customers what they want, stay tuned to the NetSphere Strategies blog.