Wayfair is one of those e-commerce companies that hasn’t gotten large amounts of media attention, but has quietly been able to create a solid business around selling home goods and furniture online. Last year, the company, which was born from CSN Stores, raised $36 million in new funding and revealed that it is seeing $600 million in annual sales (and $2.5 billion in home furnishings sales to date). And with 11 million unique customers and 5 million products listed on the site, Wayfair is looking to become a billion-dollar company by offering compelling new technologies based on the e-commerce site’s products.
Wayfair is capitalizing on the “clipping” trend that Pinterest pioneered, debuting a new Clip Board and inspiration board feature. This tool allows shoppers to drag and drop images from anywhere on the site into a clipboard bar that appears at the bottom of every page.
Users can clip any image on the site (from product listings, editorial content, design photos and promotions) to store, save and sort items they like and share them with others. They can share products with friends, pin to Pinterest, and view others’ boards for ideas and inspiration.
As CEO Niraj Shah explains, you previously couldn’t visualize all the items you really wanted or liked on the site. This specifically is tailored for home decor because you can put together an entire room (lighting, rug, furniture, accent pieces) via the Clipboard feature.
For customers who are looking for inspiration from pros, a new, yet-to-be-launched Designer Gallery features interior design shots and then allows consumers to shop those looks right from Wayfair. It’s a “shop this look” feature. On the backend, Wayfair has developed an automated tool to accurately match products on the site with images of designed rooms.
Wayfair has always allowed shoppers to sort certain product classes by color (rugs, pillows, bedding), but the color classification was all done manually, so products that had both colors were really up to the classifier’s discretion and interpretation. Wayfair’s new color-sorting technology will measure the actual pigment content and hue of every product and be able to automatically classify products by color. This feature also includes an interactive color wheel that lets you sort product by color or search for a particular color in one category or across categories. Down the road, Wayfair’s algorithm will be able to display products by complementary colors.
It’s worth mentioning that there are a number of e-commerce sites aiming to providing a compelling retail experience around selling home goods and furnture. But home-goods retail is a $500 billion market, so there’s plenty of room for competitors like One Kings Lane and Fab to all create billion-dollar businesses around home decor, and each have a different take on the the online sales experience.