The pandemic has left a trail of stores having to readjust their approach in reaching consumers. Many brands have shifted their brick-and-mortar locations to e-commerce platforms to keep up with the demand and meet the expectations of having items readily available and accessible online. Niche brands from athleisure to wine, books, and furniture, have been able to capitalize due to their offerings. Wayfair has surged in sales throughout the first quarter of 2020 as it has become a viable destination for furniture and home accessories. With this sudden spike, will they be able to maintain post-pandemic?
Wayfair’s Shopping Experience
Buying furniture online may not be ideal as many shoppers prefer to “try before they buy.” Buying a sofa may seem like a simple task, but images can be deceiving. The color may be one way online and in-store completely different. The end table may not fit in your entryway as you expected. With over 18 million items available, Wayfair’s leverage is that they were solely built in the e-commerce space to manage this. The shopping experience on Wayfair is completely different than that of its competitors like Ashley Furniture, West Elm and Ikea.
Through their app, Wayfair uses augmented reality (AI) to give consumers a true look of what the furniture would look like in their space prior to purchase. With the ‘View in Room 3-D’ feature, buyers are not only able to drag and drop the furniture into various areas of their home, but they can also rotate it to see the complete product. This gives a feel of being able to thoroughly analyze the furniture as you would in-store without having to leave the comfort of your home. It’s revolutionary for shopping online as many are hesitant to buy larger, more expensive products, at first glance.
Surge in Sales
Since March and the beginning of the pandemic lockdowns, Wayfair stock has skyrocketed over 700%. Wayfair’s CEO, Niraj Shah, stated: “Wayfair’s e-commerce model is uniquely suited to serving customers’ very real needs at this challenging time.” The stay-at-home order has shifted what people buy and purchases are not solely based on necessity. Shoppers look to what they can receive. This is due in part to many brands not having items in stock or not existing in the e-commerce space. Another key factor is that many are working from home and created instant home offices or have revamped their spaces. Wayfair being a one-stop shop allowed consumers to do just that.
Above all, the shopping experience is a game changer. While augmented reality allows shoppers to see the product virtually in real-time, the affordability is also enticing. Wayfair has amazing deals from seasonal ranging up to 65% off and closeouts up to 80% off. Plus, they have initiated no contact delivery to ensure the safety of both their workers and patrons. The experience and product availability plays a crucial role. It also gives further insight into how the sales have reached new heights Wayfair has never seen.
What to Expect Post-Pandemic
Prior to the pandemic, furniture sales were approximately 14%. The surge, while striking, has to be handled with care. Wayfair has seen an influx of new customers and will have to find a way to maintain and keep their business. This could come in the form of new products, new collections, further upgrades to their existing shopping experience. Many have purchased furniture whether out it was out of desperation or following trend. Wayfair will have to look ahead to keep the momentum.
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