You can’t miss Wayfair’s latest TV ad with Lorraine Kelly at the moment, and as ads go, I think it’s pretty good. I’m in house project mode at the minute, so I wanted to have a look at the site to see if there was anything that would suit my ever-growing shopping list.

Trouble is the Content Queen took over, and instead of spending some money, I ended up in Site Audit mode, with some interesting findings, and as I am prepping for the Furniture Content Planning Webinar, I thought I’d share my views on Wayfair‘s content strategy.

Big Content Investment

Wayfair's Sofa Content
Heavy Content Investment

To get into the detail of the content experience, we followed Wayfair’s Sofa shopping & content journey.

Wayfair are investing heavily in their blog and lifestyle content, and give shoppers an over-whelming mix of options when they are shopping.

The navigation options reflect a range of customer missions, which is a positive thing. Customers can shop via Furniture Categories, by Room, or even by Trend, e.g. Scandinavian. The homepage and top level navigation panels take shoppers to a range of different landing pages, before they get to sofas.

There are sofa style guides and care guides, but these are only accessible via one of the blogs (confusingly there are two different ones) and take the determination of a professional content auditor, to route them out.

Content Access & Platform Consistency

This chart gives a sense of the volume of navigation options and content types that you need to pass through before you can get to the PLP or PDP.

Whilst mobile and desktop are very similar, the app version is heavily pared back and doesn’t include any of the blog or sofa guides. (The app is certainly an easier experience, but the disappearance of the content experience, should certainly be a discussion point for the role and value of content and the way it can/should be integrated into mobile.)

All platforms share the one-way content structure; none of the content is accessible from PLP or PDP, which is where the majority of search traffic is likely to come from. When content is placed in a one-way configuration, neither shoppers nor retailers get the benefit of the content investment. Shoppers miss to on the brand experience and are oblivious to the presence of any help and inspiration for their shopping mission.

The marketplace consistency problem

Wayfair is a marketplace, so that bring with it the challenge of providing shoppers with a consistent product experience (hero image) at the product lister page level.

The variation of product image is wide, as you would expect. This is a difficult challenge to address for market-place retailers, but the customer experience is made much harder, because it’s difficult to navigate such huge ranges efficiently when the images have so much variation.

Variations in product information

The lack of consistency is carried through to product page, and this is where the customer really feels the impact of unregulated supplier-generated content.

This will affect some product categories more than others. There’s not much risk buying a few cushions, but large furniture purchases are both considered and emotional, and the shopper needs detailed and accurate information before they are happy enough to buy.

Lack of detail & accuracy

When you look closely at the product images and descriptions, despite the volume of content, the detail and accuracy isn’t there, and the net effect is that the shopper isn’t clear about the product, and what they are buying, and this will impact conversion levels.

Of course, Wayfair has a great range and a huge amount of choice that people will still be attracted to and buy, because they may not be able to find similar products at the same price elsewhere.

But for any furniture retailer worried about the competition, there are lots of content tactics you can employ to give your shoppers a much better site and product experience.

Wayfair’s Content Score

Brand: Poor. Across the customer journey there is very little content created that helps the customer understand what Wayfair stands for, especially in the places where it matters, PLP & PDP.

Customer: Average. There is a lot of content, and they do facilitate different shopping routes; e.g. room, category and trend, but there are much wider ranges of shopping missions that could be catered for in their blogs, which would provide greater value to the shoppers.

Product: Poor. If their extensive range suggests they are a go-to place for furniture shopping, they have a long way to go to demonstrate product expertise.

Access: Poor. Little visibility of the huge amount of good quality content that they tuck away in their blogs. Limited links from blogs to PLP & PDP and no links back from PDP or PLP. The blogs aren’t searchable either, so it would be hard for shoppers to find anything relevant.

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