Erica Price, Wayfair, Senior Category Manager

The July 18 issue of HOMEWORLD BUSINESS® features the 17th 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 18 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.

Erica Price, Wayfair, Senior Category Manager

Furniture was not an early focus of online retailers, but the category has grown, with Wayfair and its senior category manager Erica Price helping to spur development.

A vendor asserted that Price has had a significant impact in the furniture category based on her, “understanding of the retail world, the online market, and her vision for trend right products. She knows what sells and is passionate about achieving the proper balance of quality and price, while being laser focused on the online shopping experience of the Wayfair customer.”

Price said that she has witnessed, “a continued shift to online in the furniture category as consumers seek selection and convenience. Millennials are entering this market. With this generation emerging into first-time home ownership, we are seeing a greater focus on enhancing the e-commerce shopping experience in home goods. Multifunctional products that not only fit a style aesthetic, but also a dynamic space are more sought after. The shopping experience for these products is much different than traditional methods, making digital mediums more popular in the furniture market.”

At the same time, consumers are shopping for furniture not just at life stages but as they look for ways to reflect home fashion tastes at a value.

“The marrying of ideas between creative and trend-based merchandising allows us the opportunity to pivot quickly and transform the way we interact with customers. We are continuously innovating to find personal ways to inspire our customers. We listen and implement customer feedback to improve the experience from the time someone first interacts with to when the product is in their home,” said Price.

2016 HomeWorld Business Impact Merchants (click on name for profile):