BRAND United's 2019 Optichannel Award Winner: Wayfair
Creating an engaged and loyal customer base is the main goal for any company. But at a time when consumers are flooded with marketing messages, it’s crucial that brands take a unified, optimized approach at each stage of the customer journey. And thus, BRAND United — a sister brand of Target Marketing, Publishing Executive, NonProfit Pro and Total Retail — was created. BRAND United’s mission is to educate brand owners, marketers, agencies, and designers about optimized multichannel — optichannel — strategies and innovative technologies that can be implemented throughout the customer journey to create a united brand experience, bridging the gap between online and offline channels.
The BRAND United Optichannel Award was created to honor brands that demonstrated excellence, innovation, and outstanding achievement in a multichannel marketing campaign. Award winners are recognized for successfully utilizing a multichannel approach for brand awareness, as well as the innovative use of offline and online marketing tactics to optimize customer experiences, resulting in a holistic and cohesive marketing campaign with above-average results.
“BRAND United highlights campaigns that are inspired, innovative, cohesive, and engaging, in an effort to show marketers what’s working and what’s possible when they optimize marketing channels,” says Matt Steinmetz, BRAND United’s event director.
The BRAND United team worked closely with marketing intelligence agency Mintel Comperemedia, as well as sponsor USPS, reviewing recent marketing campaigns to determine which brands are truly applying an optichannel strategy to their marketing. More than 6,000 campaigns are analyzed every day at Comperemedia — representing over 1 billion in mail volume each month and shedding light on the marketing strategies of over 100,000 companies. BRAND United Optichannel Award finalists were drawn from Comperemedia’s collection of campaigns, and further analyzed.
Based on the fulfillment of four distinct criteria, the finalists — and ultimately the winner — of the inaugural BRAND United Optichannel Award were determined. The criteria are:
- Is It Inspired? Does the campaign change the way marketers should look at multichannel campaigns?
- Is It Innovative? Does the campaign utilize any marketing channels in out-of-the-box ways?
- Is It Cohesive? Does the brand create a seamless experience across all channels?
- Is It Engaging? Does the campaign draw the consumer to create a genuine brand interaction?
For 2019, the teams from BRAND United, Comperemedia, and USPS whittled down thousands of campaigns to five finalists: American Girl, Casper, Discover, Robinhood, and Wayfair. While each campaign met the aforementioned criteria, it was clear that one stood above the rest: Wayfair.
“Wayfair was selected as an example of best-in-class omnichannel marketing, because of its strategic ability to connect the traditional print channel with its interactive digital channels and create a truly engaging experience for the customer,” explains Lily Harder, Senior Director, Marketing Strategy, Mintel Comperemedia. “The use of QR Codes and augmented reality allow customers to visualize products and styles from the comfort of their own home, while also making the shopping experience convenient and seamless — exactly what consumers today are looking for.”
More Than Just Furniture
Wayfair, an online retailer of furniture and housewares, wants to make shopping for furniture easy for its customers, and even fun. The company faces a market full of competitors including, IKEA, west elm, CB2, Raymore & Flanigan, Wal-mart, and let’s not forget the giant that can threaten all e-tailers, no matter what they sell — Amazon. So being in a crowded marketplace means Wayfair needs to have great products, as well as excellent marketing. One element of the furniture retailer’s optichannel strategy is the use of augmented reality in its branded app, further promoted by its direct mail.
Furniture buyers can shop directly from the app, using the “View in Room” functionality to place a 3D rendering of the piece they’re interested in purchasing directly in the perfect space in their homes. For example, if someone is considering a new loveseat for their living room, they can browse Wayfair’s offerings, select one they’re interested in, and use AR to see the piece of furniture at-scale, look at it from different angles and placements, and see how it coordinates with existing decor. This helps take some of the guesswork out of furniture buying, which rarely has the “try before you buy” factor.
In a New York Times article titled, “Before You Buy That Couch, an App Will Put It in Your Living Room,” Jess Jacobs, director of marketing of Wayfair, discussed the use of AR in the company’s app.
She’s quoted: “We find that people who engage with our 3D view-in-room technology in our app are more likely to add an item to their cart. Some of our best customers are the ones engaging with this feature.”
Aside from offering first-time shoppers a 10% off offer on their first order, the back of the mailing walks the recipient through how to benefit from the app. If interested in the specific piece on the mailing, consumers can scan the QR Code, taking them directly to the product page. From that point, they can access all of the information about the product, as well as use the “View in Room” function, or they can move on to browse other products.
Wayfair’s direct mail works seamlessly with the app, providing the customer with an easy and positive shopping experience. The company also uses its social media platforms to continue an engaging shopping experience, sharing decor suggestions, as well as highlighting customers’ homes.
It’s clear from Wayfair’s AR-enhanced marketing campaign that its goal is to enhance the furniture and housewares buying experience for its customers. Its use of a strong optichannel and forward-thinking strategy made Wayfair the clear winner for the 2019 BRAND United Optichannel Award, and the teams from BRAND United, Comperemedia, and USPS are excited to see what campaigns are wow-worthy for 2020 and beyond.