Wayfair

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Wayfair Inc.
Formerly
CSN Stores (2002–2011)
Public
Traded asNYSEW (Class A)
Russell 1000 Component
IndustryE-commerce
FoundedAugust 2002; 18 years ago (2002-08)
FoundersNiraj Shah
Steve Conine
Headquarters4 Copley Place
Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.
Key people
Niraj Shah (co-chairman, president & CEO)
Steve Conine (co-chairman)
Thomas Netzer (COO)
Michael Fleisher (CFO)
RevenueIncrease US$9.127 billion (2019)[1]
Decrease US$ -929.94 million (2019)
Decrease US$ -984.58 million (2019)
Total assetsIncrease US$ 2.953 billion (2019)
Total equityDecrease US$ -944.21 million (2019)
Number of employees
16,900+ (2019)[1]
Websitewayfair.com
Footnotes / references
[2][3][4][5]

Wayfair Inc. is an American e-commerce company that sells furniture and home-goods. Formerly known as CSN Stores, the company was founded in 2002. Their digital platform offers 14 million items from more than 11,000 global suppliers.[4] The online company is headquartered in Boston, Massachusetts,[6] Wayfair has offices and warehouses throughout the United States as well as in Canada, Germany, Ireland, and the United Kingdom.[7]

Wayfair operates five branded retail websites: the main Wayfair site,[8] Joss & Main,[9] AllModern,[10] Birch Lane,[11] and Perigold.[12]

History[edit]

2002 to 2006[edit]

Entrepreneurs Niraj Shah and Steve Conine founded Wayfair in August 2002, as a two-person company with a makeshift headquarters in Conine's nursery, in Boston, Massachusetts.[13] Both Shah and Conine hold Bachelor of Science degrees from Cornell University. The pair had run two previous companies—Simplify Mobile and iXL, a global consulting firm—before starting Wayfair.[14]

As of December 2018, Shah is the chief executive officer, and Shah and Conine share the chairman position.

Originally known as CSN Stores (the name is derived from a mix of Shah and Conine's initials), the company began with the website racksandstands.com, selling media stands and storage furniture.

In 2003, the company added patio and garden goods suppliers, three online stores, and more than a dozen employees, and relocated the headquarters into an office on Newbury Street, in Boston.

Over the next two years, the company expanded its catalog to include home décor; office, institutional, and kitchen and dining furniture and materials, home improvement goods; bed and bath materials; luggage; and lighting. In 2006, the company earned $100 million in sales.[15]

2007 to 2010[edit]

For the next four years, the company expanded in the United States and in international markets.

In 2008, CSN Stores began shipping to Canada and selling in the United Kingdom, and opened an office in London. In the same year, the Boston Business Journal ranked the company the #1 fastest growing private e-commerce company in Massachusetts, and the #4 fastest growing private company overall.[citation needed] In 2009, the company expanded to Germany. In 2010, the company relocated its headquarters to 177 Huntington Avenue, where they occupied 10 floors. At the end of that year, the company launched Joss & Main, a members-only private sales online store.

2011 to 2019[edit]

The Wayfair headquarters in the Back Bay section of Boston, Massachusetts in 2018.

By 2011, CSN Stores owned over 200 online shops, largely niche shops for specific products, like cookware.com, everyatomicclock.com, and strollers.com. In an effort to scale, to direct traffic to a single site, and to unify the aesthetic of the company, Shah and Conine rebranded CSN Stores as Wayfair. Wayfair, as a company name, has no real meaning; it was chosen by a brand firm.[3]

To market the new brand and to increase its expansion, in June 2011 the company raised $165 million in funding from four investment firms: Battery Ventures, Great Hill Partners, HarbourVest Partners, and Spark Capital.[16]

Wayfair.com launched on September 1, 2011.[17] As of July 2012, Wayfair had consolidated all of its niche websites, with the exception of Joss & Main and AllModern, into Wayfair.com. In August 2012, Wayfair launched Wayfair Supply, a single destination for Wayfair's business, government, and institutional customers. In August 2013, Wayfair acquired DwellStudio, a New York City-based design house and retailer focused on modern home and family furnishings.[18]

Choosing a name[edit]

The company name of Wayfair was chosen by a marketing agency hired by Shah and Conine and was not based upon an aspiration, vision or a story, and is not even a word, but a combination of two words that tested well with focus groups.[4]

2014[edit]

In March 2014, T. Rowe Price led a $157 million pre-IPO financing, valuing the company at more than $2 billion.[19]

In late June 2014, the company again relocated its headquarters, this time to 4 Copley Place, about a block away from its previous headquarters at 177 Huntington Avenue. Along with 4 Copley Place, the company has two satellite offices in the surrounding area.[20]

In October 2014, Wayfair raised over $300 million through an IPO on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol W.[21] In July 2015, Wayfair sold its Australian business to local online retailer Temple & Webster for an undisclosed amount.[22] The brand was renamed to Zizo and later absorbed into the Temple & Webster business.

As of January 2014, Wayfair was the largest online-only retailer for home furniture in the United States,[23] and the 33rd largest online retailer in the United States.[24] The company generated $380 million in revenue in 2010, over $500 million in 2011, over $600 million in 2012, over $900 million in 2013, and over $1.3 billion in 2014.[25] In 2015, the net revenue of Wayfair increased to $2.25 billion,[26] to $3.4 billion in 2016[27] and to $4.7 billion in 2017.[28][29]

2017[edit]

Wayfair spent more than $500 million in advertising in 2017 and is on target to spend more in 2018.[2]

In 2017, a South Dakota lawsuit aimed at forcing Wayfair to collect and pay state sales tax made it to the US Supreme Court, South Dakota v. Wayfair, Inc. The court held that states may charge tax on purchases made from out-of-state sellers, even if the seller does not have a physical presence in the taxing state.

2018[edit]

The company hosted its first "Way Day" sale on April 25, 2018. Sales quadrupled compared to an average day in March, according to a report from analytics firm Edison Trends. The number of unique buyers on Way Day also rose nearly 400% compared to the March average, although the average order price spent on Way Day ($276) was about the same as in March ($275), according to that report.[30]

According to an August 2018 article in The Boston Globe, Wayfair added an additional 2,000 employees in the first half of 2018, and the total number of employees approached 10,000. The company will be soon expanding to another building near Copley Square with office space for an additional 4,000 employees.[2]

According to a marketing professor at Emory University, the company is losing $10 for every new customer acquisition.[2]

On December 13, 2018, the Massachusetts Economic Assistance Coordinating Council approved a $31.4 million tax break for Wayfair in exchange for a pledge to increase their hiring by at least 3,000 in Boston and 300 jobs at a new call center in Pittsfield. The tax break is one of the largest-ever awarded by the state.[31]

2019[edit]

On March 26, 2019, Wayfair announced that its first permanent physical storefront would open in the Natick Mall in Natick, Massachusetts. The retailer had previously tested a few temporary pop-up storefronts during the 2018 holiday season, and confirmed plans to open four additional pop-up storefronts in 2019.[32]

Investors are suing Wayfair, claiming the company's executives misled them about the company's value and actions, losing them money as the top brass cashed out.[33]

In May 2019, Wayfair was added to the Fortune 500 list for the first time, coming in at number 446.[3]

During participation on a business panel on September 19, 2019, CEO Niraj Shah was asked what Wayfair was looking for in new hires and he said the company was looking for employees who are talented and non-political. According to the Boston Business Journal Shah was quoted as saying, "We're generally just looking for people on two sets of criteria. One, it's just that … they're incredibly talented. They're intelligent, quantitative. Just that we think they have the raw material to really succeed and we feel confident. The second thing we look for — equally important — is the cultural fit. So we're bringing in non-political, you know, highly collaborative, just very driven and ambitious. There's a whole lot of cultural values that we think are important while we succeeded. We only hire (those candidates) who have these two sets; both kinds of traits for success." Later, when asked about Shah's comments in the article, Wayfair said in a statement that Shah's quote was "misinterpreted and inaccurately positioned in this story."[34]

Employee walk-out[edit]

On June 25, 2019, Wayfair employees announced plans to walk out in protest of a BCFS contract to sell beds to temporary migrant detention camps in a letter to senior management, including Niraj Shah and Steve Conine.[35][36][37] Wayfair leadership responded indicating they would not terminate the order, and did not indicate they would donate the profit from the order (approximately $86,000) to charity, as the letter requested.[37] Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez expressed her support for the employees and the walkout.[36] On June 26, 2019, several hundred Wayfair employees walked out.[38]

In late October 2019, the company announced it had hired 1,500 people in the last quarter, had a net loss of $272 million, and a revenue increase of 36 percent over the previous year.[5]

2020[edit]

On February 13, 2020, the company announced a layoff of 550 employees or about three percent of their global workforce. The headquarters in Boston accounted for 350 of those employees let go. Chief executive Shah notified employees in an e-mail saying, "On reflection this last period of investment went on too long . . . and we find ourselves at a place where we are, from an execution standpoint, investing in too many disparate areas, with an uneven quality and speed of execution." As of 2020, the company has yet to show a profitable quarter.[39]

Wayfair won the 2020 Webby Award for Shopping in the category Apps, Mobile & Voice.[40]

On July 10, 2020, Wayfair became the subject of a conspiracy theory falsely claiming that they are engaged in child sex trafficking.[41][42]

Operations and infrastructure[edit]

Wayfair has over 12 million square feet of warehouse space in Europe and North America with a dozen fulfillment centers. As of 2019, the company offers 14 million products from 11,000 global suppliers. Wayfair employs over 2,300 engineers and data scientists and 3,000 customer service representatives in Boston; Berlin; Ireland; and other cities in the United States. The company expects to spend more than $1 billion in marketing and advertising in 2019.[3]

Board of Directors[edit]

As of April 2019, the board of directors is:[43]

Niraj Shah Co-Founder, Chief Executive Officer, Director (Co-Chairman)
Steven Conine Co-Founder, Director (Co-Chairman)
Julie Bradley Director
Robert Gamgort Director
Andrea Jung Director
Michael Kumin Director
James Miller Director
Jeffrey Naylor Director
Romero Rodrigues Director  

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Wayfair Announces Fourth Quarter and Full Year 2019 Results" (PDF). August 17, 2020.
  2. ^ a b c d Nanos, Janelle (August 7, 2018). "Is Boston's Wayfair the next Amazon?". The Boston Globe. Retrieved August 7, 2018.
  3. ^ a b c d O'Brien, Jeffrey (May 16, 2019). "It's All Clicking for Wayfair, a Fortune 500 Newcomer". Fortune. Archived from the original on May 17, 2019. Retrieved May 17, 2019.
  4. ^ a b c Sweeney, Chris (October 1, 2019). "Inside Wayfair's Identity Crisis". Boston (magazine). Retrieved October 2, 2019.
  5. ^ a b Chesto, Jon (October 31, 2019). "Wayfair stock plunges amid sales growth concerns". The Boston Globe. Retrieved November 1, 2019.
  6. ^ "Wayfair.com 'mega-site' is new home for CSN Stores' 200 shopping sites". Home Accents Today.
  7. ^ "CSN Relaunches as Wayfair.com". Furniture Today.
  8. ^ https://www.wayfair.com
  9. ^ https://www.jossandmain.com
  10. ^ https://www.allmodern.com/
  11. ^ https://www.birchlane.com/
  12. ^ https://www.perigold.com/
  13. ^ "Wayfair To Merge 200 Online Storefronts". Back Bay Company. CBS Boston.
  14. ^ "Team Bios". Wayfair.
  15. ^ "History Timeline". Wayfair.
  16. ^ "CSN Stores Raises $165 Million First Round to Expedite Expansion and Bolster Branding" (Press release). CSN Stores. June 22, 2011.
  17. ^ "Wayfair Launches as Online Shopping Megasite with Largest Selection of Home Products Anywhere" (Press release). Wayfair. September 1, 2011.
  18. ^ "Wayfair Acquires DwellStudio" (Press release). Wayfair. August 2, 2013.
  19. ^ Bensinger, Greg (March 7, 2014). "Wayfair, Speeding Towards IPO, Lands $2 Billion Valuation". The Wall Street Journal.
  20. ^ "WayfairInsider: Status". Twitter.
  21. ^ "Wayfair Inc closes initial public offering and full exercise of underwriters' option to purchase additional shares". Reuters. October 7, 2014.
  22. ^ "Investor Relations: Wayfair Sells its Australian-based Business to Australia's #1 Online Furniture & Homewares Retailer Temple & Webster". Wayfair.
  23. ^ "Wayfair's growth spurs talk of a possible IPO". Internet Retailer. January 28, 2014.
  24. ^ "Wayfair's web sales soar 81% in Q2". Internet Retailer.
  25. ^ "Wayfair Announces Fourth Quarter and Full Year 2014 Results". Reuters. March 4, 2015.
  26. ^ "Wayfair 2015 Annual Report" (PDF). Wayfair.com. Wayfair, LLC. January 31, 2016. p. 49. Retrieved June 2, 2016.
  27. ^ "Wayfair 2016 Annual Report" (PDF). Wayfair.com. Wayfair, LLC. January 31, 2017. p. 55. Retrieved July 25, 2017.
  28. ^ "Wayfair Announces Fourth Quarter and Full Year 2017 Results". investor.wayfair.com. Retrieved March 12, 2018.
  29. ^ "Wayfair-2017-Annual-Report" (PDF).
  30. ^ "Wayfair finds profits elusive as Q1 loss widens". Retail Dive. Retrieved May 2, 2018.
  31. ^ Sperance, Cameron (December 13, 2018). "Wayfair Nabs $31M In Tax Breaks For Massachusetts Expansion". Bisnow Media. Retrieved December 14, 2018.
  32. ^ Thomas, Lauren (March 26, 2019). "Online furniture retailer Wayfair is opening up its first store ever". www.cnbc.com. Retrieved April 19, 2019.
  33. ^ Cotter, Sean (January 17, 2019). "Lawsuits: Wayfair Misled Investors". Boston Herald. Retrieved March 23, 2019.
  34. ^ Taylor, Kate (September 20, 2019). "Wayfair's CEO reportedly said he wants to hire 'non-political' employees 3 months after workers walked out to protest furnishing border camps". Business Insider. Retrieved September 20, 2019.
  35. ^ Nanos, Janelle (June 25, 2019). "Wayfair employees plan walkout to oppose furniture sales to migrant detention facilities". The Boston Globe. Retrieved June 25, 2019.
  36. ^ a b Shanker, Deena; Roeder, Jonathan (June 25, 2019). "Ocasio-Cortez Backs Wayfair Workers' Ire Over Border-Camp Sales". Bloomberg. Retrieved June 26, 2019.
  37. ^ a b Ehrenkranz, Melanie (June 25, 2019). "Wayfair CEO Refuses to Stop Furnishing Concentration Camps: Report". Gizmodo. Retrieved June 26, 2019.
  38. ^ Ivanova, Irina (June 26, 2019). "Wayfair employees walk out after company's sales to migrant children holding facility". CBS News. Retrieved June 26, 2019.
  39. ^ Nanos, Janelle (February 13, 2020). "Wayfair lays off 550 employees, including 350 in Boston". The Boston Globe. Retrieved February 13, 2020.
  40. ^ Kastrenakes, Jacob (20 May 2020). "Here are all the winners of the 2020 Webby Awards". The Verge. Retrieved 22 May 2020.
  41. ^ Evon, Dan (July 10, 2020). "Is Wayfair Trafficking Children Via Overpriced Items?". Snopes.
  42. ^ Whalen, Andrew (July 10, 2020). "Kids Shipped in Armoires? The Person Who Started the Wayfair Conspiracy Speaks". Newsweek.
  43. ^ "Wayfair Inc. – Investor Relations – Corporate Governance – Board of Directors". investor.wayfair.com. Retrieved April 12, 2019.