Wayfair Inc. next week will launch a new sales holiday, Way Day, that it pledges will feature “the lowest prices of the year” and free shipping on all orders.
The event, which will feature discounts on roughly 70,000 of the retailer’s more than 10 million SKUs, will take place on April 25 at 12 a.m. with new deals launching every six hours.
The retailer aims for Way Day to bolster sales at a time that’s traditionally a prime time for consumers to shop for home goods, says Liza Lefkowski, Wayfair’s head of brand and promotions.
“Spring is a peak moment for us, when the home is top of mind,” she says. “[Our customers] might be getting ready for outdoor season, or they might be looking to put their home up for sale or kicking off renovations or doing spring cleaning and getting organized. There’s a lot going on around the home around this time, and we want to celebrate that and establish a holiday around that.”
In doing so, the home furnishings retailer is following a path paved by some of the largest e-commerce companies in the world. For instance, Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. in 2009 turned Singles’ Day into an online shopping holiday, similar to Cyber Monday (the Monday after Thanksgiving) in the U.S. In the first year, 27 merchants participated and $8 million worth of goods were sold on Alibaba’s marketplaces.
Since then, Singles’ Day has grown into something of a cultural phenomenon in China that generates more online sales than Cyber Monday and Black Friday combined. Last year, the gross merchandise value crossed $25 billion on Alibaba’s marketplaces alone.
And Amazon.com Inc. launched Prime Day in 2015 to celebrate its 20th birthday party and to entice consumers to sign up for its Prime loyalty program since the sale’s discounts are only available to Prime members. In its first year, Amazon generated roughly $900 million in sales on Prime Day. Last year, its sales on the holiday were roughly $2.41 billion.
Retailers creating online sales holidays reflects the changing ways that consumers are shopping, Lefkowski says. “E-commerce has disrupted the traditional retail calendar. It used to be that the retail calendar was centered around holidays and big events because of logistics; that was when shoppers could get to a store. Now, they can shop whenever they want, wherever they want. That enables us to speak to them when they want to hear from us.”
Wayfair is promoting the sale with a TV commercial that launched on Wednesday, on its site and across its digital marketing channels.
While the sale is unlikely to drive results in line with Amazon’s Prime Day, that’s OK, says Sucharita Kodali, a Forrester Research Inc. analyst. “Wayfair is much smaller than Amazon with far less awareness so it won’t compare to Prime Day, but it just needs the sale to be big for itself,” she says. “And sales like this are very very effective to that end.”
Wayfair is No. 16 in the Internet Retailer 2017 Top 500, Amazon is No. 1 and Alibaba owns and operates Taobao and Tmall, which hold the No. 1 and No. 2 spots on the Internet Retailer 2017 Online Marketplaces.