By Andrea Lillo
It started with a single retail site: racksandstands.com, with an abundance of entertainment furniture for sale.
Almost ten years later — and having grown to a portfolio of more than 200 product-specific sites, such as bedroomfurniture.com and cookware.com – the company formerly known as CSN has recently relaunched itself as Wayfair.com.
The original site was very successful, said Niraj Shah, CEO, who cofounded the company with Steven Conine, chairman, in 2002. From entertainment furniture, it moved to other categories fairly quickly, he said, including sites for home office and outdoor decor products. But people identified with individual sites and the company wanted to become more of a single brand — as well as more consumer friendly, and its former name wasn’t cutting it.
“People do enjoy selection, if they can find what they want,” Shah said. However, there has to be a balance. “We offer everything but keep it digestible. We don’t want to make it daunting” for the consumer.
Now known as Wayfair.com, and with the new tagline of “a zillion things home,” the site looks to become more appealing to consumers. “Historically, we’re focused on the shopping experience and the great selection,” he said, but now visitors can do more than shop. Under the leadership of recent addition Kristine Kennedy, a shelter magazine veteran, editorial content will debut shortly, beginning with a blog this month, with more to come around the beginning of March.
And each of the individual product category sites will also soon direct visitors to Wayfair.com directly, if they don’t already.
Its product categories are pretty broad, Shah said, but the company is anchored in furniture, decor, lighting — and, surprisingly, plumbing. “We have a very large presence in plumbing, though we emphasize it less in our marketing,” he said.
Wayfair.com offers well more than 5,000 brands on the site, Shah said, or about 200 to 300 in any given category, and some areas are getting bigger. While historically the company has not been in large appliances, for example, “now there is more of a push into that.” Bedding, which is a few years old, is also growing, and the “selection gets better and better.” Housewares, toys, pet goods and accents were some of the categories that were doing well, and Shah said that 100,000 items are added every month. “We’re looking for great, new products.”
Also under the Wayfair.com umbrella is its flash site Joss & Main, which launched a year ago.
And as the site grows, so will its staff, especially in the areas of engineering, customer service and business intelligence, the company said.
“We’re off to a great start,” Shah said.
Just the Facts
• One site brings together more than 200 single-category
• More than $500 million in
• Offers more than 4.5 million items
• Sells more than 5,000 brands
• Employs more than 900 people