Wayfair on Wednesday announced plans for two holiday pop-ups opening Nov. 1 — one in Natick, Massachusetts, and the other in Paramus, New Jersey.
Wayfair customer service and home design experts will be at the locations, in part to introduce visitors to its new e-design platform, according to a company press release. The pop-ups will also feature how-to stations and more than 100 fabric swatches for custom furniture. Gift cards and a selection of tabletop and housewares will be available to purchase, and orders can be placed for next-day or two-day delivery, the company said.
The online furniture retailer's second quarter direct retail net revenue rose 48.8% year over year to $1.6 billion and active customers rose 34% to 12.8 million as of June 30, but net loss in the quarter was $100.7 million.
Wayfair got a revenue boost from its first-ever one-day sale in April, which resulted in the largest single revenue day in the company's history, executives told analysts in August. And its marketing is paying off: From July last year to June this year, the retailer's direct traffic rose 66%, according to a report from digital intelligence firm SimilarWeb emailed to Retail Dive in July.
Margins are being hit by logistics and advertising, however. Over the last four quarters, Wayfair "has not been able to surpass consensus [earnings] estimates," according to Zacks Investment Research. Still, the company continues its push and now appears to be trying to broaden its reach through brick-and-mortar.
In a statement announcing the popups, Wayfair chief product and marketing officer Ed Macri said they are part of an effort to deepen "engagement with customers beyond our online presence."
"For the first time ever, shoppers will be able to step into the world of Wayfair," he said. "We're excited to connect with shoppers face-to-face and introduce them to the endless possibilities in shopping for home. We look forward to welcoming both new and loyal customers in an even more personal way this holiday season."
In addition to the holiday pop-ups, the retailer has plans for its first physical location, an outlet opening by early 2019 in Florence, Kentucky, near its distribution center in Erlanger, Kentucky, a company spokesperson told Retail Dive in an email. "The outlet store will sell returns and close-outs in good condition," the spokesperson said.
Wayfair's move into brick-and-mortar by should come as no surprise, according to Tom Buiocchi, CEO of ServiceChannel, a technology platform that helps retailers source repair and maintenance contractors. "Physical stores still account for around 90% of goods sold, but consumers are tired of the old department store experience," he told Retail Dive in an email, adding that pop-ups and other physical locations offer a personalized shopping experience through interactions with friendly staff.