Wayfair Tech Blog

Wayfair Marketing: Growth, Personalization and Experimentation at a Massive Scale

Wayfair hasn’t always been a household name, but technology has always been at the center of everything we do. When co-founders Niraj Shah and Steve Conine built our first website, racksandstands.com, they did so with ambitious plans for the future. As they built more than 250 more sites, they used data to understand how best to scale their effort to provide a better shopping experience across various Home categories.

Since then, we’ve continued to achieve phenomenal growth fueled by our obsession to build the world’s largest and best online destination to help everyone, anywhere create their feeling of home. Now — with more than 33 million customers — we’re just getting started.

In the last year, Wayfair exceeded $15 billion in net revenue. Q1 of this year marked revenue growth of nearly 50% year-over-year. And yet, just like in the early days, we still have ambitious plans for the future.

We expect to see the total addressable market in the Home category to exceed $1 trillion by 2030. There are exciting opportunities ahead if we can continue delivering a world-class experience to our customers. As we sprint toward our lofty goals, it’s the job of our many engineers, product managers, and data scientists on the Marketing Technology (MarTech) team to design and operate the platforms that touch all parts of the customer journey across our brands and countries.

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Every day, Wayfair has millions of interactions with customers, potential shoppers, and suppliers through personalized ads, emails, videos, text messages, and app notifications. MarTech systems make this possible at a scale experienced by few other e-commerce companies, and we’re already mapping out what 10x looks like.

Think of any leading technology, and we likely not only use it, but push it to its max and beyond. And as one of the largest advertising customers of Google, Facebook, and Microsoft Bing, we have access to their latest innovations and often partner with them to build new cutting-edge solutions.

We will soon be fully based on the Google Cloud Platform, with technologies such as BigQuery and Google Kubernetes Engine woven throughout the company. Our growing microservices architecture with REST APIs allows MarTech innovations to be used by the thousands of other team members contributing to Wayfair’s product development effort. MarTech extensively integrates leading machine-learning technologies into many of its platforms, from propensity audience models to personalized email conversations.

Within MarTech, the Growth and Ad Platform team partners with the global marketing organization to convert Wayfair’s annual advertising spend into a large percentage of our revenue. What are the best ways to use technology to attract and retain customers? For instance, if you’re shopping for a new couch, we want to show you the right selection at the best prices wherever you are on the Internet, whether it’s a search engine, social media, or your favorite website. Sophisticated bidding algorithms ensure that we’re profitably buying ads in tens of billions of daily online auctions.

The Communications Platform team focuses on deepening engagement by creating conversations with customers and prospects. If you ever received a Wayfair email about an upcoming sale or a text message that your order was delivered, our in-house communications platform did all the work behind the scenes, processing a billion weekly messages. Our newest innovations will enable dynamic 1:1 customer-to-human conversations at Wayfair scale, as well as exactly determining the best time, channel, and message with which to engage customers for maximum conversion.

The Advertising team works with our supplier community to help increase their sales and exposure on Wayfair sites and apps through targeted ads and sponsorships. Not only are we generating billions in extra revenue for suppliers and solidifying Wayfair as a preferred partner, but we’ve built a significant business that’s one of the highest growth areas in the company.

No matter the team, Wayfair highly values the trust our customers place in us, so our online advertising and communications operations undergo rigorous privacy review to ensure compliance with data regulations in the markets where we operate as well as to ensure we respect consumer choice. MarTech product managers closely monitor continuing evolutions in the privacy landscape so our systems have privacy designed into them.

From a technology perspective, our engineering teams think about scale in everything they do, using Spark for high-volume batch processing and Flink, Akka, and Kafka to support our real-time streaming data pipelines.

For instance, our performance platform connects to 100+ external publisher APIs to process over 1.5 billion rows each day into our data lake. Our data interchange platform coordinates 600 pixels and tags that fire billions times each day. And we syndicate our product catalog of nearly millions of items to dozens of vendors in near real-time, with dynamic pricing and inventory updates propagated throughout our partner ecosystem.

There’s no doubt that it’s been exciting to be part of Wayfair’s impressive growth over the years — but it’s even more exciting to know that we’re nowhere near done. Wayfair’s marketing teams are at the center of the action, unlocking technological innovations and combining those with a strong business orientation, blending bottoms-up growth mindset, operational excellence, and long-term thinking. The future is bright and it’s a thrill to be part of the team that is helping fuel our next phase of growth.

Want to work at Wayfair? Head over to our Careers page to see our open roles. Be sure to follow us on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn to get a look at life at Wayfair and see what it’s like to be part of our growing team.