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December 9, 2019 | By

CXNext Live: How Wayfair Delivers Best-in-Class CX During Seasonality Shifts

If you blinked and suddenly it’s the holiday season, you’re not alone. It came fast this year and now we’re in the thick of it.

To discuss how companies prepare for and deliver best-in-class customer experience (CX) during intense periods of seasonality, we sat down with Joshua Forman, Director of Product Management at Wayfair, for episode 8 of CXNext Live.

Are you feeling the seasonality of the e-commerce holiday rush? Insights from this episode may help.

Let data drive decisions.

If you’re harnessing data and analytics to make business decisions and deliver best-in-class customer experience year-round, you’ll be better equipped to handle the mad rush of seasonality. Like most modern tech companies, Wayfair is organized into pods, with analytics as one of the four disciplines per pod. By keeping analytics integrated within each organizational group, data-driven decisions are part of everyday business. At Wayfair, Josh’s best-in-class experience group straddles the business’s category groups. This opens the opportunity to take learnings from a group on one side of the business and apply them to another part of the business right away. This ability to take knowledge from one group and apply it to another is especially helpful during times of rapid growth.

Remember, behaviors can be seasonal too.

Seasonal behavior is often different from everyday behavior. In Wayfair’s world, how customers think and behave when buying a new set of pillows for their couch is meaningfully different from how they shop for seasonal decor like a tree for the holidays. Learning these varying use cases and motivations can help drive product management, product development, and CX. When running tests and applying learnings based on these behaviors, remember that it’s only meaningful if you make apples-to-apples comparisons. For example, compare behaviors within Cyber 5 events (Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Cyber Saturday, Cyber Sunday, and Cyber Monday, because what happens during another season may not apply. If you work now to build this seasonal behavioral knowledge, you can apply what you learn to the same season next year.

Make sure your house is in order.

The lifeblood of modern product management is continuous record of improvement. But when you have intensely seasonal periods of behavior, the ability to make small iterative changes based on constant feedback is less likely. Ahead of these periods, Wayfair hunkers down and focuses on paying down tech debt and hardening infrastructure and systems. You want to make sure that your technical infrastructure risk is as low as possible so that you can handle a ridiculous number of orders coming in every minute. When the volume comes in, you’re ready to deal with that volume.

Finally, it’s always good to take a step back and celebrate hard work, even when things are crazy. We hope you can take a moment to enjoy your company’s holiday party this year, or simply pat yourself on the back and appreciate this busy season. In the meantime, you can pick up more insights from our latest CXNext Live episode, “A Conversation with Wayfair: Delivering Best-in-Class Customer Experience During the E-commerce Holiday Rush.”


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