Wayfair + Airbnb: Where Life Meets Stylehttps://www.chutegerdeman.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/airbnb_unsplash.jpg1440428Chute GerdemanChute Gerdemanhttps://secure.gravatar.com/avatar/27b8b1d5d4480e694e1d763231b8e868?s=96&d=mm&r=g
In a head to head competition, online brand Wayfair might be making the move to gain some ground against Amazon. Recently the home goods brand announced it would be opening its first-ever brick-and-mortar location. Not a whole lot of details have been shared around the new endeavor other than the 20,000 sq. ft. outlet space will be located in Florence, Kentucky and carry returned items in good condition, as well as other discounted products. Wayfair co-founders Steve Conine and Niraj Shah have said it would be impossible to have a store fully represent the breadth of Wayfair’s enormous product offerings, but what if it didn’t need to? What if everybody’s go-to home furnishings destination online became actual destinations…residential destinations for rent?
Major home goods chains like West Elm, Restoration Hardware, and Muji have all already made the extension from home goods to hospitality with the launch of hotels. While a full-scale hotel might work for them, we with think the Wayfair way might be more Airbnb. With millions of active users, tens of thousands of hosts, and over 600,000 listings in the US alone, it could be an extremely viable partnership.
Being an Airbnb host already serves as a profit model for those that lend their homes for temporary rental, but what if they were ambassadors not just for their home, but also for the Wayfair brand. Earlier this year Airbnb launched a luxury arm of the business, Airbnb Plus, that consists of the highest quality homes with exceptional hosts known for great reviews and attention to detail. To achieve that status each home was visited for a 100+ point quality inspection to receive verification. Taking that into consideration Wayfair could start there for its location strategy. Selecting resident hosts to become essentially Wayfairbnb homes. Working with the hosts they could develop a residential style that feels authentic to the owner and community, and outfit it from top to bottom with Wayfair products.
Given the social influence individuals have online today, hosts could utilize social media to essentially advertise their home. Snapping pics, creating stories, tagging products, and showcasing the Wayfairbnb life. Imagine hundreds of hosts essentially marketing the brand daily. And just like a traditional store featuring seasonal assortment, products can be rotated out to keep the home feeling new and encourage return stays.
Beyond the element of awareness, we should consider the guest experience. Embracing a shop while you stay strategy, the homes can be outfitted with iPads loaded with the home’s product inventory. Guests can browse online and buy the products they see and have them shipped to their home upon their return.
While Wayfair has stated early they have no immediate plans for brick-and-mortar outside of the outlet, we think that might just be a cautionary statement in a highly competitive environment. Reportedly the brand spent more than $500 million in advertising in 2017, and is on target to spend even more this year. If they consider brick-and-mortar a three-dimensional advertising expense, it might be a worthwhile place to invest—where consumers can experience the product in a lifestyle setting. Who’s ready to book their Wayfairbnb?