A major marketing push, a shift in scheduling and an extension of the event helped Wayfair Inc. grow its Way Day sales event in nearly every metric, according to multiple market research firms.
After Wayfair (No. 13 Internet Retailer 2018 Top 500) last year declared Way Day as its largest sales day ever in terms of revenue, the online retailer extended the sales event to 36 hours from 24 hours, pushed the event two weeks earlier in April so that it would be before Easter, added a livestream video on its site that featured product reviews and heavily advertised on TV with more than 900 commercial airings compared with 614 last year, according to financial services company Piper Jaffray.
Those efforts helped the retailer’s per-day revenue for this year’s event to rise 11%, orders and customer volume to increase 9% and the average order value to grow 5% compared with the sale last year, according to ecommerce analytics vendor Edison Trends, which gathers its data by examining millions of U.S. consumers’ anonymous and aggregated e-receipts. Put another way, Wayfair’s daily averages during the two-day 2019 sale beat the retailer’s 2018 one-day sales results in several key metrics.
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One area where Wayfair’s metrics declined was in its ability to attract new customers to its site. 37% of shoppers during this year’s event made their first Wayfair.com purchase during the event, a 10 percentage point drop from a year earlier when 47% of Way Day shoppers were new to the site, according to Edison. That decline comes at a time when Wayfair’s customer base is growing; its active customer base was up 37.9% year over year in the fourth quarter. Moreover, last year’s efforts to attract new customers may not have been that lucrative given that nearly half of those new customers, 48%, have not returned to the site since the 2018 event, according to Edison trends.
Another vendor, Hitwise, found that mobile and desktop visits to Wayfair.com rose 23.2% during the two days compared with the previous year’s sale. The retailer averaged 119,616 transactions across the two days, which was down 8.0% compared with the previous year.
Compared with its 2019 averages, Wayfair’s Way Day daily visits jumped 62.9% and its daily transactions soared 283.1%.
The retailer generated an 84.7% increase in buyers compared to last year’s event, according to Rakuten Intelligence (formerly Slice Intelligence). Last year, Wayfair data from Rakuten Intelligence (formerly Slice Intelligence) estimated that sales during the week of Way Day increased 91.2% for Wayfair compared with a week earlier. Rakuten used email receipt data of 63,108 U.S. online shoppers to estimate its results.
“Way Day 2019 seems to have been a success for Wayfair,” says Ken Cassar, Rakuten Intelligence’s vice president, strategy and insights. “The only dark spot for this sale was a 28.3% decline in average order size, driven by free shipping and handling on all purchases. My guess is that Wayfair was happy to have acquired a large number of new buyers, and a high volume of relatively small orders was a worthwhile cost.”
Wayfair declined to discuss its Way Day results.