Logistically speaking: Wayfair’s innovative supply chain

Today’s customers expect speed and transparency; they want to find products quickly and easily, their products delivered promptly and to know exactly when their purchases will arrive. That’s a logistical challenge for any retailer, but it’s especially difficult when shipping furniture and home décor nationwide. The Retail Gets Real team sat down with Dustin Bennett, director of supply chain engineering at Wayfair, to learn about the innovative logistics system Wayfair is developing to help serve both its customers and its employees better.

Home goods purchases are significant financial and emotional investments. Most customers will plan their day around the delivery of these major purchases, but it’s no longer acceptable to ask them to be at home and available from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wayfair’s mobile app offers day-of-delivery tracking that lets customers see where the driver is, what their delivery schedule is and what time they will arrive. “It gives you a little more visibility on the delivery window,” Bennett says, “so you’re not sitting there waiting, hoping that thing will arrive when you expect it to.”

Listen and subscribe

Don’t miss an episode: Subscribe to Retail Gets Real via Apple PodcastsGoogle PodcastsSpotify or Stitcher.

From the mobile shopping experience to sorting processes in the warehouses to the last mile of delivery, Wayfair’s supply chain is constantly evolving. Everything is put in place to ensure large items can travel from suppliers to customers without sustaining damage, while also providing a seamless customer experience.

The team includes user experience researchers and designers who work with associates in the field to understand points of friction. “Spend the day with a dolly moving the furniture in the warehouses yourself,” he says, “so you can understand how you might use it or feel about the software differently after you’ve been on your feet for four hours moving couches around a warehouse.”

Listen to the full episode to learn more about the processes and technologies that facilitate Wayfair’s seamless delivery and customer experience, as well as the skills that Bennett looks for when he’s hiring the people who build them.

Latest from the podcast

Data privacy and the customer experience
 
Retail Gets Real episode 127: How retailers must build a relationship based on trust when it comes to customer data.
Read more
Cuyana: Scaling a brand built on ‘fewer, better’
 
Retail Gets Real episode 126: What led to Cuyana’s early success and where the business is headed.
Read more
How KiwiCo’s growth is fueled by kids’ creativity
 
Retail Gets Real episode 125: CEO and Founder Sandra Oh Lin on KiwiCo’s journey from garage startup to growing brand.
Read more
How thredUP is changing secondhand fashion
 
Retail Gets Real episode 124: Operational details that are woven into making shopping for used clothing sexy.
Read more
How b8ta is reimagining the retail store model
 
Retail Gets Real episode 123: How b8ta’s “retail-as-a-service” model fuels discovery in the physical world.
Read more
Rothy’s formula for success
 
Retail Gets Real episode 122: How the shoe retailer attracts fans and where the brand is headed.
Read more