Allison McPartland, Wayfair, Category Manager

The July 23 issue of HOMEWORLD BUSINESS® features the 19th annual Impact Merchants special report. Housewares suppliers, representing the categories that HomeWorld covers, once again were asked to nominate buyers and merchandisers believed to have made a significant impact during the past year.

The selection of the 19 Impact Merchant winners is not intended as a definitive list of the best merchants in housewares retailing. Votes went to several more merchandisers than those featured. This year’s honorees represent buyers in given categories that received the majority of votes by vendors polled.

Voters were asked to give added weight to merchandising creativity, trend and marketing astuteness, attention to detail, openness to risk, flexibility, relationship building and the ability to deliver a profitable program for both the vendors and retailer while providing value to consumers. One thing this year’s Impact Merchants share is a vote of respect by their vendors. In today’s unpredictable retail environment, that vote really counts.

Allison McPartland, Wayfair, Category Manager

When she set her sights on a career, Allison McPartland chose retail, and a good thing, too, given the evidence. Take it from a vendor who works with her, who characterized McPartland as “amazing,” going on to say she is energetic, enthusiastic, honorable and a pleasure to work with. She keeps her eyes on the ball, driving business and offering ideas about building business collaboratively. As such, the vendor characterized her as an effective team player.

McPartland told HOMEWORLD BUSINESS® that she pursued a degree in retail management at Santa Clara University, then started her career with TJX in its buying program. In joining Wayfair, McPartland said she hoped to expand her retail management experience in a fast-paced, technology-driven e-commerce operation. She kicked off her Wayfair tenure as an exclusive brands team buyer, transitioning to the category manager team where she now leads the portable lighting business.

In today’s market, McPartland said, she observes consumers who “believe that their home is not only a reflection of their style, but also themselves. Given their desire to browse and be inspired, merchandising by style and price allows us the opportunity to personalize their offering. Wayfair interacts with our customers by not only offering inspirational content, but also by providing design tools, such as a 3D Room Planner, which empowers our customers to curate and design their own space. The shift to online shopping continues to ramp up due to merchandising tools like augmented reality and the logistical improvements that have significantly enhanced the speed and convenience of home deliveries.”

As retail has developed, McPartland has fulfilled her desire to advance with rapidly evolving technology. “The combination of integrating technology in the shopping experience and offering convenience to the consumer are critical developments driving the market today. Consumer behavior has changed as Millennials are entering the market. They have a high level of comfort with technology and purchasing furniture online, while also wanting fast delivery,” she said.

2018 HomeWorld Business Impact Merchants (click on name for profile):