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.”

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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.

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