Editor's Note: Reports of Retail’s Death Are Greatly Exaggerated
I don’t know about you, but I’m tiring of the seemingly daily headlines declaring the death of U.S retail. Yes, it’s true many retailers are suffering from declining traffic and sales, burdensome store leases, and rising costs. However, the eternal optimist that I am, I tend to think that everything is cyclical and retail will recover sooner rather than later. After all, if you really dive into the numbers, retail sales are relatively healthy. And if you include e-commerce sales, they’re growing at a brisk rate.
One company that can’t relate to all the negative retail news is Wayfair. The e-commerce company founded in 2002 that sells home furnishings and décor items earned the top spot in our seventh annual list of the 100 Fastest-Growing Retailers.
Total Retail’s Executive Editor Joe Keenan researched the net sales figures for all of the public retail companies in the U.S. (and a select few headquartered in Canada that have a significant presence in the U.S.), capturing the data for the 2015 and 2016 fiscal years for each company. He then calculated the percentage change year-over-year, and ranked each company in descending order to arrive at our top 100.
Wayfair increased its sales more than 50 percent between 2015 and 2016. So, what’s Wayfair’s secret sauce? How has it been able to get the attention — and wallets — of consumers in such a competitive market? For starters, Wayfair has always had a core focus on enhancing the retail experience for its customers through technology, innovation and inspiring merchandise. One way it does this is through its proprietary logistics network, which positions its suppliers’ products in its own warehouses so it can ship directly to customers to meet next-day or two-day delivery guarantees. Wayfair also recently expanded into new product categories, including home improvement and housewares. Lastly, Wayfair is reaching across borders to increase sales. The retailer has a growing presence in Canada, the U.K. and Germany.
Moving on, in this issue’s Retail by the Numbers, readers get a snapshot of Total Retail’s latest research report, Top 100 Omnichannel Retailers. We partnered with Radial, an omnichannel commerce technology and operations provider, to analyze and score last year’s list of the Top 100 Fastest-Growing Retailers based on seven criteria: does it offer buy online, pick up in-store; does it offer the ability to search for in-store products on its website; does it offer a shared cart across sales channels; are loyalty points able to earned and redeemed across channels; are products able to be returned across channels; does it offer customer service in three or more channels; and is its pricing consistent across channels.