What is your current role?
Currently I am a Senior Software Engineer for the Storefront Physical Stores team
What does your team do? How does it fit into the world of Wayfair?
The Storefront Physical Stores team creates and maintains all of the software that runs our physical retail located in Natick, MA. To learn more about our Natick store and the work my team put into creating the tech behind it, check out this recent blog post!
How long have you been at Wayfair?
I’ve been at Wayfair for 5 years
What was the first 90 days like starting here?
I currently work at Wayfair’s headquarters in Boston, but I began my time at Wayfair as an employee of our Berlin office. When I applied for the Berlin job, I still lived in the US so I spent my first month at Wayfair attending onboarding courses and meeting tons of people on the different Storefront teams in Boston. After a month, I flew to Berlin and finally met my new team in person. My team was really supportive with everything I needed to do in my first few months in a new place.
How has your role changed since you started here?
Since I started, a lot has changed! The Berlin engineering department grew greatly in the time I worked there and many new teams were formed. While in Berlin, I worked on a few different Storefront teams, including International, Payments and User Generated Content. Eventually, I made the decision to move back to Boston and am now working on the Physical Retail team. In the past 5 years, I’ve worked on a variety of different projects and in a variety of different roles—all of my managers have been really supportive of my decisions to move offices, teams or roles.
Every day is different, but can you outline what a typical day looks like for you?
In the morning, my team has a daily standup where we briefly talk about what we’re currently working on. After that, I spend my time coding, reviewing my teammates' code, or discussing our projects. Our team holds bi-weekly sprint meetings and retrospectives and we’re very collaborative, so at the start of a project, we often meet to whiteboard our ideas. I am also a member of a few different programming related working groups, so I sometimes have tasks or meetings for those groups.
Are there particular seasons of the year that are busier than others? If so why?
Our first physical retail store opened last year in August, so our team was really busy last summer! Now that the store is open, and we passed our first holiday season, we are looking to get customer feedback and make optimizations.
Collaboration Across Wayfair
What are some of the different teams that you work with?
We collaborate a lot with our Checkout and Payments teams because our point-of-sale software is built using the technology for our website’s checkout. We also work closely with many of our stakeholders on the business, creative, and merchandising sides. There is also some overlap with the Envision teams that work on our 3D Room Planner and VR experience, as we have a Home Bar in store where customers can interact with these features.
Home bar at Wayfair Retail store in Natick, MA
What is your role in your relationship to product?
We work closely together to plan our projects and discuss the requirements for our work. We whiteboard often to brainstorm the user-experience or implementation of our features. Recently, we’ve had some brainstorming sessions for upcoming projects to improve and optimize the in-store experience and prepare for the first holiday season in the physical store.
Sarah’s Favorite Parts of the Job
What are some tech tools that you have enjoyed using at Wayfair?
Our team’s application is written in PHP, and uses GraphQL for our API layer and React for the frontend. I was able to work on a project implementing our electronic shelf labels, which are the e-paper devices that allow us to do dynamic pricing in the store. This was really interesting because it was the first time I worked on a project with a hardware component. We also worked with barcode printers and scanners.
What is the most interesting problem you are trying to solve?
Opening the physical retail store and seeing how customers interact with our software in real-time has been really interesting! I got the opportunity to see this first hand by working in the store for a day and interacting with customers. It’s been challenging and interesting to adapt the experience of our website for physical retail.
What recent project are you most proud of?
Opening a store! Launching the store in a short time frame required a lot of teamwork and scrappy-ness. It was definitely a great learning experience.