Virtually decorate: Wayfair online home decor company to open first store at Natick Mall – News – MetroWest Daily News, Framingham, MA
After opening up a pop-up shop in the Natick Mall last holiday season, the Boston-based e-commerce giant opened its first physical location Wednesday.
NATICK — While Wayfair’s first full-service brick and mortar store at the Natick Mall lets customers see and feel some of its millions of items offered online, it also offers an immersive virtual experience.
Using Wayfair Room Planner, store associates can help customers re-create actual rooms in their homes and use a virtual reality headset to get a 3-D perspective of the items they’re looking to buy.
“As soon as you put on the VR headset, the perspective you get is different because you can now know the relationship between the products,” said Shrenik Sadalgi, head of Next Gen Experiences for the e-commerce giant, known for its online selection of more than 14 million items across home furnishings, décor, home improvement, housewares and more.
The virtual reality experience gives an idea of the size and height of the products in the room. Salespeople offer free design advice.
“You can start a project here and take it home,” Sadalgi said. “Or you can start something at home and bring it here.”
Wayfair to open first permanent mall store in Natick
After opening up a pop-up shop in the mall last holiday season, the Boston-based business will open its first physical location on Wednesday. A preview of the store was offered ahead of time to the Daily News and other media outlets.
“We are always looking for new ways to extend the Wayfair brand, so this is the next natural extension of that,” said Molly Delaney, corporate communications manager.
The store, on the first level of the mall near Macy’s and Wegmans, employs more than a dozen people. The space offers items for living rooms, dining rooms, bedroom, kitchen and home office.
“We wanted it to be really inviting for people walking in from the mall by having the open layout and making them feel like they are walking into a home,” Delaney said.
Store manager Blythe Freedline showed off how customers can use the store’s custom upholstery program to customize handcrafted furniture pieces across hundreds of colors and fabrics. A Josephine Chesterfield sofa modeled in “Curious Silver” in the store comes in more than 120 colors. Customers can see the colors and fabrics in person before making a decision.
“I can show you the same couch in a color you might be interested in,” Freedline said using an iPad.
The colors apply to all custom pieces on Wayfair.
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Most smaller items are available for purchase in store, but sales associates can help place orders online. The store features samples of different finishes for tables.
“We want to make it easy for people to see all the options,” Delaney said.
Wayfair continues to open pop-up locations across the country, but the company has declined to provide information about possible future store locations.
The Natick store opened in time for students and their parents to shop for college dorm room items.
“We are really excited to see how people react to stepping into Wayfair,” Delaney said.
Wayfair, which is publicly traded, generated about $8 billion in revenue in the 12 months ending June 30. The company, with operations throughout North America and Europe, employs more than 14,500 people.
Jonathan Phelps writes about business, development and real estate for the Daily News. He can be reached at 508-626-4338 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @JPhelps_MW.