From time-to-time, we do a deep-dive on a single brand, not a client, whose business and emails we find especially worth exploring.
Since its 2002 launch from a co-founder’s spare bedroom, Wayfair has grown into a major ecommerce force. Its 2018 sales are forecast to be $6.6 billion, supported by a workforce of nearly 10,000, offering 10 million online home furnishings products, many in categories not heretofore thought to be strongly compatible with online selling. Its employee recruiting targets are more likely to be MBA or PhD data geeks than conventionally trained merchants. Wayfair is not yet profitable, but . . . neither was Amazon for many years. (Source: Boston Globe, 8/7/2018)
So . . . we thought it might be worthwhile to investigate how Wayfair uses marketing email to tell its story and drive its business. Bottom-line: Wayfair has wide audience exposure and mails heavily, but drives only slightly above average read rates. Nevertheless, their best-performing campaigns are tightly targeted, curated by merchandise items or categories, and drive 20-30% read rates.
We benchmarked Wayfair’s email activity against that of seven other well-known retail brands specializing in key merchandise categories Wayfair sells. The table below provides comparative data on audience size and overall engagement, along with this year-over-year (YOY) email campaign data for a ninety-day period ending August 31st. Highlights:
- Audience: Wayfair’s overall projected email audience of almost 53 million is the largest of the eight brands, and twice as large as that of next largest, Bed Bath & Beyond. In terms of recent email engagement, Wayfair has the third most active audience, behind those of Bed, Bath & Beyond and Crate & Barrel.
- Emails: Wayfair’s email campaign and circulation counts are much bigger than everybody else’s. YOY, both activity metrics have grown for all brands, except Pottery Barn.
- Inbox Performance: Wayfair maintains strong (>90%) deliverability, as do four other brands. YOY, only Ikea did not improve its inbox performance.
- Read Rates: Wayfair’s average read rates (13%) are only fourth strongest in a group where the range extends from 12% (Restoration Hardware/Ikea) to 19% (Pier 1). YOY, read rates have declined for all of these brands.