Wayfair takes a bigger step into brick and mortar retailing
Just a couple of years ago, Wayfair CEO Niraj Shah spoke about how Americans were becoming increasingly open to online furniture shopping. The basic advantages, he asserted, were selection and convenience. While Mr. Shah may have been correct, it also seems clear that Wayfair, similarly to other e-tailers and consumer direct brands, has concluded that there are advantages to opening physical stores, as well.
The furniture retailer has announced plans to open its first full-service store at the Natick Mall in Natick, MA in the fall. The store will offer a seamless shopping experience with Wayfair’s site, according to the company. It will also provide customer service and home design experts to consult with shoppers. Customers can make immediate purchases of furniture and accessories in the store or place orders for home delivery.
“With the opening of our new retail store, we are offering our customers a new way to enjoy Wayfair’s exceptional shopping experience as we continue to transform the way people shop for their homes,” said Mr. Shah in a statement.
Wayfair opened a pop-up shop in the Natick Mall this past holiday season as well as another at the Westfield Garden State Plaza in Paramus, NJ. The retailer plans to open four pop-ups for the holiday season later this year.
Wayfair also opened an outlet inside the company’s distribution center in Florence, KY last year. The 20,000-square-foot space for the outlet is used to sell excess inventory, including products returned to Wayfair. An article on Forbes last August asserted that Wayfair was being hurt by high return rates and customer acquisition costs.
- Wayfair Expands to Physical Retail with First Brick & Mortar Store – Wayfair Inc.
- Never Say Never: Wayfair Opening Its First Store – Forbes
- Wayfair to open its first brick & mortar store – RetailWire
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Do you see Wayfair’s full-service furniture store in the Natick Mall as the first of many for the retailer? What do you see as the challenges and opportunities for Wayfair as it adds physical retailing into its distribution mix?