Wayfair Primed To Accelerate Housewares Expansion

Even as it posted big gains during the holidays, Wayfair.com launched initiatives that will make a long-term difference on its website, co-chairman, CEO and co-founder Niraj Shah told HOMEWORLD BUSINESS®, including expansion of seasonal and housewares operations.

Wayfair is enhancing seasonal and housewares operations as the e-commerce company more firmly establishes itself as a whole-home shopping solution, he said.

Sales for the Black Friday and Thanksgiving weekend more than doubled for the e-tailer, up 109%, Shah said, well above the overall online revenue gain of 21%. “We took market share,” Shah emphasized.

Still, seasonal and housewares initiatives played a role in helping Wayfair have significant success in the lead up to Black Friday and through Thanksgiving, which not only boosted the company’s market share but also burnished prospects for the Christmas run-up through gift card season, Shah said.

As 2015 closed, Wayfair began to focus on several under-promoted categories, “and those include seasonal décor and decorative accents, and housewares. Those have turned out to be very nice categories for us,” Shah noted.

Although Wayfair has had seasonal and housewares available on its site, the categories were not prominent or as deep as they might have been, Shah said. However, now Wayfair is revisiting housewares as a potential growth category.

Wayfair has taken steps to boost the profile of its housewares offering, in part through sponsorship of a holiday special from celebrity chef Giada De Laurentiis.

The retailer intends to promote itself more vigorously as a source for housewares, Shah noted, so it has partnered with De Laurentiis on another project: a series of home entertaining-oriented Food Network programs.

In 2016, Shah said Wayfair would continue launching new initiatives to enhance the shopping experience. For example, the company is working now to build out photo studio space so that it can improve the shopping experience for consumers even as it stocks and merchandises a larger and more diverse range of products. Plans call for operation of 100,000 square feet of photo studio space by April.

“We always want to make it better,” Shah said.

For more on Wayfair, see the January 4, 2016, issue of HOMEWORLD BUSINESS®. This issue also features previews of tabletop and kitchenware at the Atlanta Market.