Wayfair creates a technical team of employees of Target, Google

Short dive:

  • Creating his technical team, Wayfair announced on Thursday appointed Ashwin Rao as his chief researcher and Niraj Nagrani to become its Vice President for Global Market Suppliers, Pricing, Catalogs and Technology Merchandising. The two newly appointed executives will report to Fiona Tan, the company’s new technical director.
  • Rao will focus on introducing machine learning, mathematical modeling and algorithms to enhance the shopping experience. Nagrani will work to improve Wayfair’s international catalog of vendors, merchandising and pricing systems; develop the best web and mobile experience; and collect data for suppliers, according to a company announcement.
  • Rao, who will continue to work as an adjunct professor at Stanford University, has previous experience as a former vice president of artificial intelligence at Target. Prior to joining Wayfair, Nagrani previously held the position of Vice President of Engineering at Google, according to a press release.

Diving Insight:

Recently, Wayfair has changed several leadership changes in an attempt to streamline its supply chain operations and improve its digital presence. Earlier this week, an e-commerce retailer announced it had hired Sean Halligan to become its new CEO of global supply chainsbringing with him previous experience in companies such as Target and Nike. Wayfair also earlier this year appointed Tana Chief Technology Officerwho will take on this role on March 1 and will become the company’s third technical director since 2019.

According to the latest statement on the change of leadership, the appointment of Rao and Nagrani will expand the company’s list of technologists and will be a catalyst for “future purchases in all categories of the home.”

“Technology is at the heart of everything we do at Wayfair,” Tang said in a statement. “As a leader in e-commerce and supply chain with suppliers and operations worldwide, Wayfair is at the forefront of addressing some of the most complex and challenging technology challenges facing retailers. Ashwin and Niraj bring valuable experience to the steering team as we work together to stimulate the future evolution of our customers in online and physical retail. ”

But as the furniture retailer changes its leadership, the company is also struggling with declining demand. At the start of the pandemic Wayfair, like other retailers selling home goods, experienced sales growth as consumers invested more in their homes. But in recent months, when consumers have shifted spending elsewhere, online home retailers have faced declining sales. The company’s net sales for the third quarter decreased by 18.7% up to $ 3.1 billion annually. However, compared to 2019, its net profit increased by 35.4%. Wayfair also again reported losses after a brief stay in the positive last year: in the last quarter, the retailer reported operating losses of $ 69.8 million and a net loss of $ 78 million. Advertising spending was about 10% of total revenue for the quarter compared to last year, when it was less than 9% of revenue.

To reduce the high marketing costs associated with attracting customers online, many DTC brands, including Wayfair, have turned to physical retail through pop-ups, permanent stores or partnerships with traditional retailers. In December, the company announced plans to open two new AllModern stores and one Joss & Main storestores are expected to open in the next two years.

https://www.retaildive.com/news/wayfair-builds-out-tech-team-with-hires-from-target-google/619106/ Wayfair creates a technical team of employees of Target, Google

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