Wayfair Tech Blog

Driving Customer Obsession Through Technology

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Experience by Design: How Technology Enables Customer Obsession | Zinnov Confluence 2023

Last month I attended the Zinnov Confluence – India Edition. For anyone not familiar with the event, it delivers a forum for global brands to share their experiences and perspectives around disruptive technologies, new digital business models, and leadership paradigms that can help bring India’s incredible technology ecosystem into the global community.

My session was centered on Experience by Design and how technology can drive what we like to call customer obsession. To be customer obsessed means being committed to delivering optimal personalized experiences to each shopper, both on and offline. The timing for the event was great because Wayfair recently opened a new technology center in Bangalore, and that fast-growing team plays a key role in helping us execute this obsession.

As I mentioned at the event, shopping for home furnishing is different from buying a pack of AAA batteries. The same goes for selling home furnishing, where it’s a whole other ball game. This is especially the case when it comes to personalizing the shopper experience, and here’s why. In the home furnishing sector, customers use search words that are very subjective, emotive, and style based. For example, they are looking for items that are comfortable and match their unique style and that of their home.

From a search perspective, that doesn’t provide a lot to work with, and it’s the job of our technology team to find ways to understand these requirements, identify items and then share those that match the criteria. At Zinnov Confluence, I touched on some of the key technologies we use to do that, including AI, machine learning, and semantic search.

When combined, these elements allow us to analyze data and gain an intimate understanding of customers. From there, we can anticipate their needs and engage them through the next generation of experiences that are highly personalized to match their unique style. This includes both online and in one of our physical stores.

We are excited about our advancements, but in typical Wayfair fashion, we never sit still. Our team is always looking forward because we understand that being customer obsessed doesn’t happen by happenstance. It occurs when we leverage the latest technologies to understand our customers and their needs.

Right now, teams around the globe continue exploring new technologies such as Generative AI. One example of a use case that has yielded positive results that we are looking to scale is in our customer service chat where our customer service agents are being assisted by Generative AI capabilities. We also just launched Decorify, a new way for shoppers to reimagine their spaces and hone in on their style preferences using generative AI. Stay tuned for more efforts as well.

In the meantime, if you are interested in learning more about the technologies Wayfair is leveraging today and want to get a bigger glimpse into those we are testing now in places like our Bangalore facility, check out the session above.