The basic marketing lesson of Wayfair

  • Wayfair went public in October 2014, raising over $300 million on the New York Stock Exchange.
  • Today, it is the largest online-only retailer of home furniture in the United States and 33rd-largest retailer in the US. Revenue in 2017 was a very impressive $4.7 billion.
  • Wayfair is focused on inexpensive products, positive user experiences with their digital products, and good customer service.

Wayfair is clicking on all consumer touch points from social media to customer experience.   They have over 6 million followers on Facebook for its flagship brand and people love their app for shopping its extensive catalogue.  However, the key fundamental building block of their brand is exceptional customer service.

Recently I purchased an expensive coffee table from Wayfair and their follow through was outstanding.  Not only did they call me to let me know it was shipped, they let me know when the drivers would be here and then sent a follow up survey to ask if I was happy with my experience.  This is what good brands do, but as brands get bigger too many lose focus of great customer service.

According to an article on Thinknum “overall ratings for Wayfair as an employer have risen from 3.1 to 3.5 out of 5 in the past year. That means that, cumulatively, people find the company a good place to work. This leads to retention, and retention leads to lower HR costs”.  This is a huge competitive advantage and one in which Amazon is highly vulnerable.  As an Amazon customer I have noticed shipping times slipping and we seem to be getting orders later and later.

Too many marketers are focused on things like big data while customer service lags.  As we make marketing more complicated the distance between us and our customers seems to widen.  If you can show customers that you care, you really care, you don’t have to worry as much about prices.  It’s too bad that brands have forgotten this basic marketing lesson.