The latest retailer networking forum organised by BHETA (British Home Enhancement Trade Association) offered a glimpse into Wayfair’s category expansion in the UK, with a big focus on sustainability in both housewares and DIY – in terms of buying trends, product development and packaging.
At the event, which took place at BHETA’s headquarters in Birmingham on February 26, Joseph Bill, associate director of the online home décor and housewares giant, outlined the company’s history, philosophy and significant growth to its current position as a premier retailer in the UK.
Of particular interest to BHETA’s supplier delegates were the DIY/garden categories which Wayfair wishes to expand into, alongside its housewares and small domestic appliance offering, and its process of engaging with suppliers. Joe outlined the key criteria for becoming and succeeding as a Wayfair supplier, and the procedure for new or existing partnerships.
Other speakers included Phil Pond, director of trend forecasting agency Scarlet Opus, which advises many suppliers and retailers in the home enhancement and home improvement markets on which consumer trends will drive purchases over the next few years.
Phil’s presentation covered sustainability, eco-friendly goods and the advances in technology which are leading to manufacturing innovation, material recovery and product design.
He also explored the implications for suppliers of increasing consumer frustration at the business world’s perceived slowness to own the challenge of sustainability. Quoting Governor of the Bank of England Mark Carney’s comment that “firms ignoring climate change will go bankrupt”, Phil looked at the commercial potential of alternative – but commercially available – materials for product and packaging manufacture.
Presentations were also given by Glynn Jones, deputy agent – West Midlands and Oxfordshire of the Bank of England, who provided an assessment of the outlook for the economy and retail, taking into account the UK’s departure from the EU.
Carolyn Hough, business development manager of freight company Dachser, also focused on the potential logistics implications of the UK’s exit from the EU, setting out the questions which suppliers should be asking of their logistics suppliers.
Karina Kulichenko, project manager of FEDIYMA (European Federation of DIY Manufacturers) presented insights from the recently published 2019 Global Home Improvement Report. This study provides detailed information on 56 countries, including the top 10 DIY retailers in each country – and Karina outlined the kind of buyer/seller details which could be drawn from the report.
BHETA chief operating officer Will Jones commented, “Retailing in both DIY and housewares continues to move fast, driven by the evolution of different shopping habits, attitudes and beliefs at macro level, and ever more advanced technology. As with all BHETA forums, this yet again provided BHETA members with an insight into the opportunities and implications.”
For more information about future BHETA events, contact BHETA’s member services manager Nicola Adams on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wayfair associate director Joseph Bill