Customer Story

Wayfair: Furnishing personalized online buying experiences through cloud collaboration

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Wayfair uses Google Workspace to better connect its team members as they work together to deliver seamless buying experiences for customers across channels.

Google Cloud Results

Developing innovative shopping experiences for 29M+ customers

• Improves productivity and reduces operational costs with streamlined collaboration and communication
• Supports employees as they work to enable seamless customer experiences from purchase through the supply chain to delivery
• Empowers diverse teams to work together to offer innovative ecommerce experiences and other dynamic services that drive sales

“Google Workspace is the lifeblood of how we collaborate. We have so many teams engaging across projects. Google Workspace tools like Docs, Drive, and Sheets keep us organized and in step with up-to-date information.” -- Liz Lehtonen, Associate Director, Product Management, Wayfair

Online retail for the home has moved quickly from novelty to the norm. From furniture and kitchenware, to textiles, flooring and wallpaper, shoppers worldwide now have unprecedented choice when researching products, selecting options, and buying the product they want in just a few clicks. With customer expectations for responsive, quality services higher than ever, home goods retailers need to evolve shopping experiences to align with what, when, and how customers want to buy.

This matters more than ever in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic which has seen a seismic shift in purchasing habits. Established home retailers, such as Wayfair, must be agile enough to respond to spikes in demand during lockdown while adjusting to the long-term shift in buying habits as more people shop online and businesses shift to a hybrid mix of office and home working.

In the case of its shopping website and app, Wayfair has built a reputation for innovation and the delivery of user-friendly, innovative customer experiences. Customers can filter items by color and style options for a living room, bedroom or kitchen set, compare prices, see product dimensions, read customer reviews, and buy—all from the comfort of their homes. Wayfair was even early to add augmented reality to the shopping experience, making it easier for customers to visualize a piece of furniture in the context of their own living space.

All these projects require unprecedented levels of collaboration, much of it relying on cross-functional collaboration between multiple Wayfair employees. Here, Google Workspace is one of the principal tools that enables Wayfair's distributed teams and key partners to connect and collaborate in real time from anywhere. This makes it the perfect tool for Wayfair’s innovative culture, supporting flexible, continuous improvement, and problem solving at a massive scale.

“Google Workspace is the lifeblood of how we collaborate. We have so many teams engaging across projects,” says Liz Lehtonen, Associate Director, Product Management at Wayfair. “Google Workspace tools like Docs, Drive, and Sheets keep us organized and in step with up-to-date information.”

Simplified operations enabled in the cloud

“Google Workspace improves coordination across hundreds of people all working together to support our customers from product ordering to final delivery.” -- Liz Lehtonen, Associate Director, Product Management, Wayfair

Teams can develop plans in Google Docs, share ideas easily across the teams inside and outside the company, with everyone able to review the latest version of a plan and provide timely input. Ideas can then be synthesized into a Google Slides deck for further feedback and collaboration.

“Google Workspace enables everyone involved in an idea to work seamlessly,” says Lehtonen. “Working remotely or across offices, we know that everyone can share input as we look to quickly build consensus and move work ahead.”

While collaboration is fundamental to Wayfair’s business, it must be efficient and streamlined to prevent groupthink and ‘analysis paralysis’. Even before a brainstorm begins, Lehtonen uses a Google Form with multiple choice, check box, and open-ended questions to build a broad list of potential solutions for high-value user problems, understand what is top of mind for her stakeholders and team, and to better understand risks that may need to be mitigated. From there, the team narrows the full list down by assessing the value, usability, feasibility, and business viability risks of the most promising solutions.

“For instance, the solutions that need to be vetted for a new website experience may be totally different from managing the supply chain,” says Lehtonen. “We use Google Forms, as one step in a many-step process, to ensure we clearly map out and structure the opportunity, and subsequently select the right solutions to pursue. This keeps teams lean, reduces wasted time by having fewer meetings, and helps participants prepare ideas in advance, while driving to the right outcomes for our business.”

During meetings, Google Slides makes it simple to clearly convey details visually, while Google Meet connects Wayfair’s global teams of employees and suppliers so they can collaborate quickly and efficiently across time zones. “Google Workspace improves coordination across hundreds of people all working together to support our customers from product ordering through to final delivery,” says Lehtonen.

Highly intuitive, incredibly user friendly

When it comes to the popularity of Google Workspace apps, the numbers speak for themselves. Every month more than 70% of Google Workspace active users at Wayfair use Google Meet for online meetings and face-to-face communication taking part in more than 150,000 meetings per month. Lehtonen says, “Google Meet scales perfectly to the size of the project or team, from two or three participants to dozens or even hundreds of invitees.”

More than 75% of active users access Google Docs, more than 80% access Google Sheets, and more than two-thirds access Google Slides. “When you look at the take up of these apps, the vast majority of Wayfair employees use Google Workspace on a daily basis to store and share knowledge, schedule meetings, and communicate in real time.”

Lehtonen also highlights the seamless integration of Google Workspace apps. “People are increasingly used to switching back and forth between video, voice, and chat for communication depending on their location, the subject under discussion or the number of participants. Google Workspace enables you to switch between multiple channels from a single interface so that teams can find a blend that best matches the style of the participants,” she says.

Innovation: served up on time at Wayfair

“Putting products in an augmented reality environment is complex, and Google Workspace helps diverse teams work together easily to enable dynamic customer experiences that make our products stand out and drive sales.” -- Nicole Tan, Creative Technologist, Wayfair Next

Google Workspace also supports Wayfair teams as they develop innovative retail experiences. For instance, employees collaborated on Wayfair’s innovative View in Room feature which enables customers to point their camera at a room and overlay a digital image, at scale, of an item of furniture.

“Visual proof of how a piece will look gives customers the confidence they’ve made the right choice,” says Nicole Tan, creative technologist at Wayfair Next. “Putting products in an augmented reality environment is complex, and Google Workspace helps diverse teams work together easily to enable dynamic customer experiences that make our products stand out and drive sales.”

The company believes that 3D models will progress at an even more accelerated pace over the next few years and continue to play a massive role in offering an exceptional shopping experience.

Tan also believes that AR will play a central role in team collaboration. “One of the greatest strengths of Google Workspace is that it is evolving non-stop. As a leader in AR, I’ve no doubt that Google will soon add it to its apps enabling our teams to collaborate in richer and more engaging environments. Google Workspace continues to be a game changer for our employees, our customers, and the Wayfair business."

*Google Workspace was formerly known as G Suite prior to Oct. 6, 2020.