Wayfair Officially Enters Brick-and-Mortar Opening First Large-Format Store

Wayfair opens large-format store in Illinois, enhancing its physical retail presence.

The Moast Team

April 29, 2024

Wayfair is gearing up to open its first large-format store in Wilmette, Illinois, expanding its physical presence beyond its digital roots. Set to launch on May 23, this 150,000 square-foot space will offer a comprehensive range of home products, from furniture to home decor, aiming to provide a seamless omnichannel shopping experience. 

This strategic move comes at a challenging time for the home retail sector, following a pandemic-induced boom. Wayfair's new store format marks a significant scale-up from its previous physical retail efforts.2

mockups of Wayfair's new large store

Why This Matters

Wayfair's move into large-format physical stores is significant for e-commerce and DTC brands considering similar strategies. This expansion demonstrates the growing importance of omnichannel approaches in retail, where physical presence complements online platforms. 

As Wayfair aims to enhance customer experience and showcase a broader product range, it highlights a trend where online-first brands leverage physical stores to strengthen brand presence, increase customer engagement, and potentially address the sales plateau post-pandemic. This strategic shift could serve as a model for other digital-native companies facing similar market conditions.

Key Takeaways for DTC Brands

For DTC brands considering an omnichannel strategy, Wayfair's move into large-format retail offers a compelling case study. As consumers increasingly expect seamless transitions between online and offline experiences, having physical stores can significantly enhance customer satisfaction and brand loyalty. Brands like Apple and Nike have successfully integrated their digital and physical channels, offering exclusive in-store experiences that complement their online presence.

These strategies not only drive traffic to both channels but also create more touchpoints for customer interaction, deepening engagement and improving the overall shopping experience. For DTC brands, investing in physical retail spaces can be a strategic move to showcase products, enhance brand visibility, and meet customers' evolving preferences. The key is to ensure that these physical experiences are integrated with online operations to provide a cohesive and satisfying customer journey.

Omnichannel Strategies: Essential for DTC and E-commerce Brands

In today’s retail landscape, where customer expectations are higher than ever, omnichannel strategies have become fundamental for direct-to-consumer (DTC) and e-commerce brands aiming to provide seamless, integrated shopping experiences across multiple platforms and devices.

What Are Omnichannel Strategies?

Omnichannel strategies involve creating a unified brand experience for customers across all channels and touchpoints, including online platforms (websites, mobile apps, social media), physical stores, and other customer service methods (phone, email, chat). The goal is to allow customers to engage, browse, purchase, and interact with a brand in a cohesive manner, regardless of the channel they choose.

Why Are They Important?

1. Enhanced Customer Experience: Omnichannel strategies help in delivering a consistent experience across all channels. Customers can start their journey on one channel and seamlessly continue on another without any disruptions. For instance, they might research a product on a mobile app and then purchase it in-store. This flexibility enhances the customer experience, increases satisfaction, and builds loyalty.

2. Increased Sales and Conversion Rates: Brands that successfully implement omnichannel strategies often see higher engagement rates, increased sales, and better conversion rates. According to a report by Harvard Business Review, customers who used multiple channels to interact with stores were more valuable on multiple counts, including making more frequent purchases.

3. Improved Data Collection and Utilization: Omnichannel strategies allow brands to collect data across various touchpoints, providing a more comprehensive understanding of customer behaviors and preferences. This data can be leveraged to personalize marketing efforts, optimize inventory, and improve product recommendations, thereby enhancing the overall customer experience and increasing sales.

A design illustrating ecommerce and brick and mortar selling

4. Greater Competitive Advantage: In a competitive market, offering multiple channels for customer interaction can set a brand apart. Brands like Nike and Sephora have excelled by creating immersive experiences that blend online and offline interactions, from apps that enhance in-store experiences to exclusive online content that drives store visits.

5. Efficient Inventory Management: Omnichannel strategies can lead to more efficient inventory management. For example, integrating online and offline inventory systems allows brands to fulfill online orders using store inventory when warehouse stock is low, reducing delivery times and improving customer satisfaction.

6. Sustainability in Customer Relationships: By maintaining presence across multiple platforms and keeping the communication consistent and personalized, brands nurture a sustainable relationship with their customers. This continuous engagement helps in retaining customers and encourages repeat purchases.

Challenges and Considerations

While the benefits are significant, implementing an effective omnichannel strategy is not without challenges. It requires substantial investment in technology and infrastructure to integrate all channels. Training staff to provide consistent service across platforms and ensuring data security across channels are also critical considerations.

Furthermore, brands need to maintain a clear, consistent brand message across all channels, which can be complex when dealing with various content formats and interaction styles. However, the investment in omnichannel strategy often pays off by delivering a superior customer experience and driving business growth.


For DTC and e-commerce brands, adopting an omnichannel strategy is no longer just an option but a necessity in the modern retail environment. It allows brands to meet customers where they are, tailor experiences to their needs and preferences, and build lasting relationships that drive loyalty and revenue. In a world where the lines between physical and digital shopping are increasingly blurred, a robust omnichannel strategy is a key differentiator that can lead to sustained business success.

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