session - image 2In the first keynote session, Maximizing Resources and Scaling Your E-commerce Business Growth, we heard from CEO and Founder Niraj Shah of Wayfair.  The Wayfair brand originated with a site called racksandstands.com. But they didn’t stop there, after racks and stands became profitable, they added separate and diverse websites for things like furniture and pet goods.

After creating and consolidating their 250 websites into one, the Wayfair brand was born. They are now the 2nd largest home goods retailer next to Williams Sonoma.

Success Best Practices

For Niraj, the four pillars of success were: being capital efficient, using technology aggressively, delivering multiple growth paths (i.e. multiple websites) and a relentless practice of customer centricity. Using these pillars, Wayfair reached $600MM without accepting outside capital. Another best practice was to use technologies when they were simply good enough. Implementing Google analytics as their analytic vendor, for instance, has saved Wayfair a large cost while still offering a good value.

Did you know your interior designer is an engineer?

Technology drives scale. Advising consumers about products, but not pushing them, is a method Wayfair uses to add customer enjoyment to their experience online, and still ensures that they are providing upsell and cross sell options. For instance, Wayfair.com currently displays products consumers “also viewed” on individual product pages.

How do you add more success?

By adding websites in different verticals, Wayfair secured their place in the $5B home goods industry. “Adding layers” of new websites, special retailer programs, international growth and a focus on new targeted audiences (like one of their latest, “allmodern.com”) have added incremental growth as well.  Growth, innovation, leverage and reinvestment are the hallmarks of Wayfair’s success.  But in order to pass along their wisdom, here are some key takeaways for the retailers in the audience:

1)      Change one thing to lower cash consumption

2)      If the technology value is good, and it’s free, use it

3)      Find one routine you can automate for savings

4)      When actively engaging with customers, ask at least one open ended question and actually listen to their feedback

Also see eCommerce Retail is Always So Trendy