Exploring the Future of Immersive Retail Experiences with Wayfair R&D Dir. Shrenik Sadalgi

In this episode, host Trevor Sumner sits down with Shrenik Sadalgi, director of research and development at Wayfair Next.

During their conversation they discuss Shrenik’s professional journey to Wayfair and dive deep into fascinating topics like immersive technology, the Metaverse and the future of 3D search.

Shrenik Sadalgi is an ideator, a futurist, a thinker-doer and a technologist. As head of Wayfair Next, he leads the exploration of far-future R&D for Wayfair where he and his team are pioneering the future of retail and home by leveraging emerging technologies and inventing new ones.

Shrenik also won the Retail Innovator of the Year in 2019 and his work has been the recipient of Edison & Webby awards.

Host info: In addition to being a RETHINK Retail Top Retail Influencer, Trevor is the CEO of Perch, a recognized leader in in-store Product Engagement Marketing, interactive retail displays and augmented reality.

If you enjoyed this episode, please let us know by subscribing to our channel and giving us a 5 star rating us on Spotify and Apple Podcasts.

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Hosted by Trevor Sumner
Produced by Gabriella Bock
Edited by Chase Atherton

TRANSCRIPTION

Trevor Sumner:
Hello. And welcome back to another episode of the RETHINK Retail podcast. I’m your host, Trevor Sumner and joining the show today is Shrenik Sadalgi. Shrenik Sadalgi is an ideator, a futurist, a thinker-doer, and a technologist. As head of Wayfair Next, he leads the exploration of far-future R&D for Wayfair, where he and his team are pioneering the future of retail and home by leveraging emerging technologies and inventing new ones. He’s expanded on this role as pioneer for the future of retail. Nice title. In his work at the Khronos group an open global consortium that’s creating open standards. Shrenik serve as the founding chair of the Khronos 3D Commerce working group, a group of leading retail and technology companies exploring the opportunity to accelerate the adoption of 3D experiences by establishing a set of universal standards for platform agnostic, 3D model creation and distribution. I think I know what all that means. I’m excited to explore it with you. Shrenik also won the Retail Innovator of the Year in 2019, and his work has been the recipient of Edison and Webby awards. Thank you for joining the show today, Shrenik.

Shrenik Sadalgi:
Thank you, Trevor. Thanks for having me. Good to be on you…

Trevor Sumner:
I love it. This is a good mix of kind of futurism with a little bit of technology. It’s where I like to spend a lot of time. So can you kick us off by telling us a little bit more about your professional journey? You’ve got an interesting background coming from VMware, which is a very kind of deep technical software and operating system level type technology. And now you find yourself on the front end with Wayfair. How’d you find your way down this path?

Shrenik Sadalgi:
Yeah, I think, I mean, just reminding back, I feel like I’ve always been a technologist that I’ve… I think my first experience with technology was I think I entered some commands on a computer and then this thing drew a circle and it was a program called logo. And since then I’ve just been hooked onto using technology to do things. And so to entertain yourself or to solve problems. And so I think I find myself, I’ve gone through different roles in my career. And one thing that’s kind of stood out as an underlying theme is that it’s not just important to figure out exactly what the technology should be. It’s also how you interact with it. How do you present it in a way that people would actually adopt it?

Shrenik Sadalgi:
And so I think I feel like I keep gravitating towards that. Yeah, you’re right. Absolutely right. VMware is a very… It’s a different kind of technology company than Wayfair, right? So we were working on operating system level, I guess that’s a stack that we were working on. We were trying to figure out how to virtualize the Android operating system so that you could have a work persona and the personal part of your phone on the same device. And you could swap between the two. And when I talk about that now, it feels like, “Oh, that’s just so obvious. And that’s already a thing, right?” And so what got me to Wayfair was this, again, I found myself getting back or wanting to get back to this to a place where I could actually affect millions of people around the world and help them get a better experience or help them with using technology. And so that’s one of the reasons why I joined Wayfair.

Trevor Sumner:
Yeah. And I think it’s interesting looking at your journey is that, you talk about this persona based, change the context of your environment based upon what we know about you. And then also, you kind of made your way towards JavaScript, which is a backend technology, but also a lot to do with front end. And increasingly I think that because our experiences are defined in many ways, by the way, the technology can enhance them. A lot of engineers who have spent time on the front end increasingly are making the move to really thinking about experience design and where design and technology intersect.

Shrenik Sadalgi:
Absolutely. And so I tend to think of technology as not are in terms of front end versus backend versus thing. It is just an underlying tool to help you solve a problem. And there’s always like you have the right tool for the right problem. And so there are just different ways of using technologies to kind of solve problems. And so I think that, as long as you kind of get that. So, for me, I tell my team this, “You can basically do anything as long as you know what tool to apply when, and you can learn anything, you just need the right momentum or the right time to do that.”

Shrenik Sadalgi:
And so I think front end versus backend versus experience design, it’s all, at the end of the day, you are building something that will affect how a person perceives information, how they get that information and how they exchange that information and use that information to make decisions in your life. And so, as long as you can use technology to basically manipulate information, that’s what it is at the end of the day. And so you should be good. So just breaking it down to first principles is kind of what I try to do and I try to advocate for.

Trevor Sumner:
Yeah. And I think it’s interesting because we are both working and on merging the best of physical and digital. At perch, I’m trying to overlay digital information and tools and media on the physical shopping experience. And in many ways, you were trying to overlay the physical world’s benefits on the digital shopping experience by talking about these 3D experiences. So maybe let’s just take a step back and say, you’ve been at Wayfair for about eight years now. One, what does it mean to have a 3D experience? And how has that changed over the course of the time that you’ve been there?

Shrenik Sadalgi:
Yeah. That’s a really interesting question, I guess. So the way I frame it as we’re in a journey, right? I mean, if you just rewind back to the early years of the international years of eCommerce. People realize that in order to sell a product online, you needed to have a representation of that product. And the best way to do that was to have a picture of the product. And so the equivalents today is that now that picture has needs to be a lot more richer and you need to have it be represented in a way that is more natural like, and so that’s why 3D comes in because humans, like we are basically perceiving the world today in 3D, right? And so if you can represent products in 3D in that natural medium, then that is the most natural way in which people can actually, gauge what that product looks like or what that product feels like.

Shrenik Sadalgi:
And so we’re currently on a journey where we have unlocked 3D as a new medium, for merchandising products, just like how we figure out pictures are important and necessary. We’re now at a stage where we think that a richer representation of the product, which is three dimensional is needed in order to much nicer product. So we’re on that journey right now and we are figuring out different ways of using this digital information. Either you can take this 3D information and overlay on top of the physical world which leads to these augmented reality experiences, where you can see products in your space before you buy them, or you can create entire virtual words that where you can immerse users into these really inspirational spaces where they get an idea of like what they exactly want. Or you can just use it to create a picture, right? Just use it to create another picture, another representation of that product that helps you in the shopping journey. And so 3D has any roles to play, and we are just chipping away one used case at a time.

Trevor Sumner:
Yeah, no, absolutely. And, I think you guys were the first to market with the 3D visualization of furniture in your home. And, it was quickly copied by many others, but you were a real innovator there. I think it’s really… I remember that being very close to the pandemic. Do you see the pandemic as having accelerated some of the expectations within virtual spaces and the need to interact with physical products in pseudo virtual or AR environments?

Shrenik Sadalgi:
Yeah, I think so. I think with the pandemic, what is happening I guess, is people are more dependent on these digital tools. And people have realized that digital tools… There are quite a lot of digital tools available in order to help you with the shopping journey. And so, there’s real power to a digital platform trying to… If you think of the journey from inspiring a customer by providing them with the right merchandiser content or the selection of products, or even something as simple as searching for stuff, narrowing down your search, right? Going from tens of millions of products to a few products that you actually like.

Shrenik Sadalgi:
All that stuff is digital. And follow that up with a really world class delivery experience or a customer experience that leads to really good engagement with customers. So I think, the pandemic has definitely accelerated the use of digital platforms. And so I think we are… Specifically, I think tools that help you visualize furniture in your own space, if that’s pictures, or if that’s even an augmented reality experiences where you can see the furniture in your phone, in the context of your space, at the right…

Shrenik Sadalgi:
… in your phone, in the context of your space, at the right scale, those tools have become even more important because it has really helped you understand what would work best in your space. But I think like, and it’s pandemic or not, I think these tools would’ve got the right adoption just because they’re just a lot more practical, because you can do quite a lot of your shopping and the ease of your… While you’re sitting on your couch in your home. And so it’s so much more convenient than trying to go to a store and then figure out what you want and then come back and then bring all your measuring tape, measure your space, then go back to the store. There’s quite a few round trips that are required in order to figure out how you want to, if you’re looking for a perfect couch for your space.

Shrenik Sadalgi:
And so we’re trying to reduce all that stuff by just find the right products online, have you go through the shopping journey and it shows up on your doorstep a few days from you order it. And then you can decide whether that’s good for you or not. So I think-

Trevor Sumner:
Yeah, no, absolutely. That’s a clear use case and when it came out. It’s just like, “Oh, of course.” Now I’ve seen a lot of 3D technologies being deployed in lots of different areas of the business. There’s a company that allows you to create 3D representations of a store so that you can look at eye tracking and flow. Nike is playing in the Metaverse and releasing products that, almost to gather consumer product feedback before you see what’s popular and then decide whether to actually create production.

Trevor Sumner:
What are some of the other use cases that you are looking at at Wayfair in terms of 3D technologies that may not be as, I don’t want to say obvious because it was truly innovative when it was launched, but beyond that use case, where are some of the areas that many people may not be thinking of where you think 3D can have a big impact in retail and at Wayfair?

Shrenik Sadalgi:
Yeah, I think the obvious ones are like if you can produce more motionizing imagery by creating different, if you think of it from a… Creating a photograph requires quite a lot of time from a… You kind of have to invest in a photo studio, you have to actually ship your products to the photo studio, you have to lay it out and actually take a picture. You can do all that stuff inside a computer using 3D models of products, which means that you can take more images that represent the product and give customers more information about that product.

Shrenik Sadalgi:
That’s one of the use cases that really is something that we’ve gotten really good at. But then now that you can do this, you can now imagine swapping out that space with the customers space. And so it doesn’t have to be, if you look at any of the imagery that you see online today, when you have on Wayfair, you see a lot of rich lifestyle imagery that shows you products in a nice setting in a living room. That living room could actually be your living room. And so we’re trying to figure out how to generate these photographs for your spaces. So that’s one thing that is interesting that I can see that might change the way people perceive these products and so using 3D technologies.

Shrenik Sadalgi:
Another one that’s interesting is we’re trying to figure out how we think that every home is going to have a digital copy of itself and you can store that somewhere online. And so imagine if you had access to a digital copy of your home in your pocket, on your phone, that can be used in multiple ways. You could imagine different versions of furniture in your space by just accessing it on your phone or you could share this version of your home with folks, like let’s say you’re doing a major renovation. And so you can imagine sharing that with contractors and having contractors give you their quotes or give you the renderings of what your space might look like, and then give that back to you.

Shrenik Sadalgi:
And then you take a look at what you want and you say like, “I just take this one” and you’re done. So I think the digital home is an interesting concept that we are really excited about and that flows into the Metaverse I guess. And so the way we are preparing for this future is that we think that there are these fundamental building blocks. And if you think of the fundamental building block for anything digital in the future it’s going to be this idea of a 3D product, a 3D virtual product.

Shrenik Sadalgi:
So if your catalog can be digitized, that’s a big first step towards enabling all these different experiences. And so we’ve already done that. And so that’s kind of, you know, I guess [inaudible 00:15:25]. And once you have that, you can just keep experimenting with different experiences. You have all these new platforms that are out there. If you think of Magic Leap, if you think of any platform that has these kind of head worn displays or this mixed reality devices, this 3D catalog is going to be a foundational building block for powering those experiences. I think investing in the 3D catalog is very important at this point.

Trevor Sumner:
Yeah, I just immediately I’m like, oh, I can create a digital copy of my home and then talk to my wife like, “Hey, what if we knocked down this wall? What would that look like?” Let’s put some Wayfair furniture in it, decorate it with the wall down and actually see it in its finished state and say, do we really want to do that or not.

Shrenik Sadalgi:
Exactly.

Trevor Sumner:
Yeah. Super, super exciting. Another example, which is less around furniture, is Walmart bought a company called Zeekit, which scans models and clothes. And so if you have 50 different models of different ethnicities, ages, body types, and then they scan, let’s say a hundred tops and a hundred bottoms, with a hundred tops and a hundred bottoms, they could actually put those clothes on virtually creating 10,000 different combinations of clothes on 50 different models. And all of a sudden you have a half a million different combinations of looks that you can serve up and you can figure out which ones are more popular and even personalized ads and their plan is to go to walmart.com, you say, “I like this body type or this model.” And the entire experience becomes that person, the model, and the clothes on them. It’s fascinating. It’s such a fascinating and interesting time.

Shrenik Sadalgi:
Yeah. And the experience you just spoke about with Walmart is a great analogy of what we are doing with the home basically. And so it’s a, yeah, I think having these unique digital pieces of content, which is your catalog, and trying to remix them in different ways and changing the context of where they show up, which is the space itself, can lead to a ton of inspiration. And all the customers have to do is just imagine you’re browsing this page that has infinite number of options of how your space might look like, and then you just pick the right ones that you like and then you go from there.

Trevor Sumner:
Yeah. Yeah. Super exciting time. We talked a little bit about the Metaverse, I’d love to get your take on the Metaverse. I think it’s really interesting since you’re dealing with furniture and homes and physical spaces that lend itself naturally to creations in the Metaverse. I have a friend at Estee Lauder who did a popup in Decentraland and they got 500,000 in earned media just by people showing up. What are your thoughts on the Metaverse as a whole and what dynamics need to develop so that it can be more of a meaningful business interaction framework beyond the novelty of, “Hey, I put something up, come look at it” and getting brand exposure.

Shrenik Sadalgi:
Yeah, I think before I answer that question, I think I want to define what the Metaverse is. Because I think it feels like in today’s way, a lot of people have different definitions of what the Metaverse is to them. I think of the Metaverse as an extension of the internet. And so if you think of the internet, internet you have quite a lot of web pages. Those are currently all in 2D and you’re going to see them on a flat screen. If you take the internet today and you actually make it spatial, which means you’re adding, let’s say you add another dimension to it and make it 3D, for example, and you add more modalities. You add audio, you add video, you add interaction and stuff like that, that is what I think the Metaverse is at least to me.

Shrenik Sadalgi:
And so, yes, it is kind of inevitable to think of having different, I guess, brands on this Metaverse accessing this Metaverse from different phones or devices. To me, it’s not just kind of what you see on Ready Player One with the Oasis and stuff. It is actually, it exists as a central or rather multiple versions of this might exist just like how the internet is kind of fragmented across the world, I guess a little bit. And you can access this in different ways. It could be from your phone, just like how you use today. It could be from your laptop. It could be from the next version of the computer, which.

Shrenik Sadalgi:
It could be from your laptop. It could be from the next version of the computer, which could be a body worn or a head worn device, which is, again, inevitable that the computer is going to become, if you think of the evolution of the computer, it’s definitely going to go into a spot where it is going to get more natural to impact with this information. So given the Metaverse is basically the spatial internet, yes, it is very likely that Wayfair as a brand or as the company is going to have some space on there.

Shrenik Sadalgi:
But what’s more interesting I think is when I spoke about the digital homes earlier, I can think of a collection of these digital homes being a part of the Metaverse.

Trevor Sumner:
Yep.

Shrenik Sadalgi:
As in, you have a space that belongs to you, that represents, that looks exactly like your physical space, but it is a digital copy of it that you can do different things so you can manipulate that in different ways and so it can deviate from what your physical space might look like. You can use that to make decisions about your physical space, which means I can test out different, let’s say, couches or, the example that you alluded to earlier, which I can break down a wall and see what my space might look like.

Trevor Sumner:
Yeah, absolutely. And do you see, right now you have a 3D map of all your products in your catalog, is that something that you would license to Decentraland and say, “All right, anybody building a house in Decentraland or any of the Metaverses can put Wayfair furniture in there and basically go decorating”? Is that something that gets done by the retailer, that’s done by the brand? Is that something that adds value with the ability to shop immediately? How do you think about moving from a tool mindset in designing my home to almost a media mindset about how to engage age shoppers and build brand awareness, like Estée Lauder did?

Shrenik Sadalgi:
Yeah. I mean, the beauty of having something that’s distributed or decentralized is the underlying notion that someone might take the same information that you have and actually build a much better experience. So what we’ve actually done earlier on, I think this is 2016 or 2017, is we actually license, all of our 3D catalog is available online for anyone who wants to use it. And so you could go, you could take Wayfair furniture, the 3D catalog, and actually go build an experience that you think is the best shopping experience online or the best design experience online. And I mean, the products represent Wayfair’s products and you can make the purchase through Wayfair. But we are already empowering developers to go and build the best thing.

Shrenik Sadalgi:
The reason why we are sharing this content, apart from what you said was, one of the bottlenecks in all the things that we’ve discussed so far is that content creation is actually not straightforward in the sense there is a cost to creating this virtual product today that represents a real product. We don’t want developers to go and do that. Let’s say if you’re a developer and you want to experiment with creating a virtual designer, for example, instead of you spending all your time trying to figure out how to create the content, we’ll give you the content. You can focus on the experience. So we’re trying empower developers to come up with really new, fantastic experiences, but using the content that already exists. I do want to mention.

Trevor Sumner:
Go ahead. Go ahead.

Shrenik Sadalgi:
I do want to mention, I think you had asked me the question earlier about, what do I think is the bottleneck for the Metaverse? There are certain things that still need to happen before the Metaverse becomes a reality, and so I think interoperability or standards is a very, very big component that needs to be in place before the Metaverse can take shape and get wide adoption. If you think of the equivalent, think of HTML, or HTML as a way to define webpages, because of which webpages are standardized on the internet today. And so just like that, I think we need different standards in place so that the Metaverse can take shape. More importantly, if you think of JPEG as the universal standard of sorts for images, if someone says, “I’m going to give you a JPEG,” you know what that means.

Shrenik Sadalgi:
You don’t have that today with 3D models. Rather, we have created the first, our first attempt at creating the JPEG for 3D, which is something called GLTF, and that’s actually one of the groups that I run as a part of the Kronos Group is, how do we all come together and agree on what a virtual product is? How do you define it? How do you store it? What is the file format? What are the different properties that need to be associated with the virtual product? So unless you have that, you can’t transact. Rather, you can’t exchange this information online in a Metaverse in even current use cases. You think of 3D searches, unless we have this underlying standard, it’s very tough for me to take my content and give it to someone else and have them show that to a final user.

Trevor Sumner:
Yeah, absolutely. The portability of assets, because it’s not really the Metaverse. It’s Metaverses. So each of these environments is its own Metaverse and so it’s hard to invest solely in digitizing in one way if you can’t export them to all the different environments. So I’m thinking one of the things you said earlier on the show, which you hinted at, is some of the more disruptive ways to think through things. This 3D navigation environment gives us new opportunities, and two areas where I think we try and port over the existing 2D [skew-morphic 00:26:37] analogy is search and navigation. You still have drop downs and other things. How do you see 3D changing the way we search for products and how do you see 3D changing navigation in a retail context?

Shrenik Sadalgi:
Yeah. Great question. I guess, if I have to map out the evolution of peripherals or computers, if you think of the evolution of just the computer, go from mainframes to desktop computers to tablets, mobile devices, what is the next evolution of the computer? And so my guess is that it is going to be something that is going to be a lot more natural in the sense of a lot more, I guess, synchronized with humans in the sense you’re either wearing it or it’s a part of your clothing or it somewhere that’s close by where you are interacting with it in a very seamless way. Just like that, if you think of the interactions, if you think of how we have fed in information and received information from computer systems, if we think of punch cards, I guess, writing out or using a keyboard to write machine readable language so that you can interact with the computer, or you think of the mouse as a pointer, [inaudible 00:28:07] pointed things, all that stuff.

Shrenik Sadalgi:
They’re all interconnected in the sense depending on how what the next computer looks like or computing platform looks like, the way you interact with it is also going to be completely different. And so it is just going to get a lot more natural. And that’s one of the reasons why 3D is gaining in popularity, is because it has an affordance where it does mimic real life. And so I can imagine a search on a website like Wayfair where someone is just conversing with the brand and then actually trying to narrow your search by just conversing with the brand directly. The neat thing about the spatial internet or the Metaverse is that the reason why it’s spatial is because your space has become a part of your environment, which it was not previously.

Shrenik Sadalgi:
So if you think of browsing, just think of how you’re browsing today, you’re browsing in a browser, you may be at a cafe, you may be at home, we don’t know where you are, the context is missing.

Trevor Sumner:
Yep. Yep. The context is super interesting. I think about when you go to a physical shelf, I can scan 200 items in one or two, three seconds, but online, I get results 10 at a time. It’s just not… One is the kind of the 3D aspect and the ability for my eyes to roam free. But also it’s a little bit of the context and contextual clues that we can bring in.

Trevor Sumner:
I’m an entrepreneur, building futuristic technology. When I take a shower, there’s usually some problem that I’m thinking about, some intractable problem that I’m perplexed by, I’m solved by. Is there a problem within spatial internet and spatial commerce that keeps you up at night or is you’re kind of great unknown that you’re really trying to work on and don’t have great answers for, but is a great problem space?

Shrenik Sadalgi:
Yeah, I think, yes, for sure. I have a list of those. I think the top two I can imagine or immediately comes to mind, one is an interoperability. So unless we have standards where we can exchange information in a meaningful way, the adoption is not going to happen. You’re going to have a very fragmented system, which is the case today. So let me give a quick example of what I mean by that. So if you take 3D search or three searches also, so today, if you to type out a query on Google, you might start to see 3D search results, But you might see a 3D tiger, if you’re searching for a tiger, or if you’re searching for a red couch, you might see a 3D model of a wafer couch that comes in the color red.

Shrenik Sadalgi:
But at the same time, you might also see a competitor showing you a red couch. You might see Ikea’s couch, you might see a couch from Target. So unless we all, as retailers, have agreed upon how to represent a 3D red couch or 3D couches or 3D models of products, it is going to be tough for us to hand this content, change this content between different systems. So-

Trevor Sumner:
I get that. That’s like a standards and process and getting a committee type thing, kind of like HTML, HTP, JavaScript, or any of those.

Shrenik Sadalgi:
Exactly.

Trevor Sumner:
Right. And we’ll get there. But in terms of some of the more technical problem spaces around that intersection of design and technology, is there something that you’re really trying to wrap your head around that keeps you up at night or gets you excited thinking about?

Shrenik Sadalgi:
Yeah. So I think the other one that I was going to talk about was, again, like defining on certain, I guess, paradigms for user interaction inside, I guess, in these newer versions of, I guess, the spatial internet or newer platforms. And so what I mean by that is if you think of, let’s say, a product page, or if you think of the button, just think of just a simple internet, the button on the internet. That has gone to so much to evolution and it can final figure people have understood what that thing means if there’s a shape, there’s a pill on the side, and if it’s a different color and has text on it, I know that that’s clickable. Or I know that something highlighted in blue is clickable.

Shrenik Sadalgi:
So just like that, in the next version of however you perceive information, whether it’s on a head mounted display or on your mobile phone, I think that today, one of the humps that we need to get over is that people still are not used to interacting with 3D content or rich content in the context of your space or in a virtual world.

Shrenik Sadalgi:
So navigating the virtual world, manipulating these objects in 3D. You can do it in many natural ways where if you can move 3D objects around just like how you do in real life. But there are certain things that are still missing. Today, I think, one of the things that we see when we try to test 3D content or view in room experiences is that I think we are yet to crack the best experience where we’re trying to present this 3D content to a customer in the real space. We’re trying to tell them, this is the real size. This is actually the real size of this part in your space. But it’s not fairly obvious that it is a actually the real size.

Shrenik Sadalgi:
And so I think we’re trying to figure out, how do we get to a state where anyone can actually interact with the 3D content in a very natural way? They know what it means. There are certain paradigms that have not been defined yet for this whole 3D, the 3D experiences overall. And I think those things, if we can do that, then I think that would really help.

Trevor Sumner:
Yeah. It would be cool if I could put my wife on the couch as almost like a reference as well, like multiple points of reference. And I think about, in the work that we do is how do we encourage, how do we create that taxonomy of what a shopper, a user, a consumer can do without having to tell them explicitly? What is that design language? So voice interface being one of the great examples is, I have that thing from Amazon that I don’t want to say, because it will wake up while I’m on this podcast, but I use it for the same things. What’s the weather, set a timer, play some media, because I just don’t know the rich taxonomy of commands and it’s hard to teach in voice. And so I think you’ve got an advantage with 3D and visual but it’s also so much more powerful and the options are almost limitless. It’s a difficult problem.

Trevor Sumner:
So last question, because I know we have to wrap up, what are you most excited about launching this year at Wayfair?

Shrenik Sadalgi:
Yes, by far, I’d say physical retail. If you think of a journey, I think we’re going to go from, we’re basically going to fuse the digital with the physical. A better way to say it is that, so far we’ve been figuring out how to bring the store to you. In the sense, you’re shopping at home, we’re bringing the whole store to your experience on your mobile devices and your desktop and the various devices that you surf on. Where now, we’re trying to figure out, how do you bring your home to the store now? And how do you fuse the digital with the physical and actually come up with a really, a true omnichannel experience where we’re trying to actually blur the line between online and offline, where the customer can start their journey in a store and then purchase online or vice versa, or basically the seamless shopping experience that can set where we can, where a customer can start anywhere and end anywhere.

Shrenik Sadalgi:
So that is really exciting to us. And so that’s something in that I’m really looking forward to this year. And then in the physical retail stores that we are going to launch this year, there will be some interesting experiences that will help customers do that.

Trevor Sumner:
That’s amazing. If we started this conversation and I told the audience that the most excited thing for you would be about physical retail, I don’t think we would’ve come full circle here. But interestingly, that’s exactly the problem I’m focused on at purchase well around overlaying digital content to every physical product and thinking about this merging of digital and physical. I think about some of the things you said today, like how cool would it be if I could bring the digital representation of my home into the Wayfair store and experiment with the designer in the store together?

Shrenik Sadalgi:
Exactly.

Trevor Sumner:
So once you get these tools, these representations, whether it’s your products, my own digital home, these tools that I can use both online, mobile with my Apple glass or in Mark Zuckerberg’s Metaverse, which we could debate vigorously of its future and viability, all of these things, this portability that you mentioned and that’s why it is so important. It really defines a future of retail that does merge the best of physical and digital and creates these new ways of interacting that I personally find exciting. So thank you for your time today. Thank you for all your insights. I’m excited about figuring out how to scan my home and knocking down some walls. I appreciate your time and insight today.

Shrenik Sadalgi:
Thank you, Trevor. Lovely talking to you.

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