Lowe’s and Wayfair CEOs Plan for the Unknown


National Retail Federation | January 14, 2021


Marvin Ellison, president and CEO of Lowe’s, spoke with NRF president and CEO Matthew Shay; Niraj Shah, co-founder, president and CEO of online furniture giant Wayfair, discussed his company’s startling growth trajectory, and the foundation for maintaining it.


Wayfair has been guided by the founders’ belief that there was a big online opportunity in the home category. Wayfair has a market cap of $24 billion; in December, 2020 sales were projected at $14 billion, a growth rate of over 40 percent.


For Lowe’s, under Ellison has also seen double-digit growth in both revenue and net income, one component of improvement is technology. If you fully embrace technology early on and embed it in your business, you end up being able to do things that you couldn’t otherwise do.


“Ecommerce is a tough business,” Shah said. “You need to be good at everything — you can’t be great at merchandising and not so great at logistics. What you’re not good at is what limits your growth, and being great in other areas doesn’t make up for it.”


“The most effective technology is technology that no one sees. All the customer knows is that the transaction was easy. “And that,” Ellison said, “is what good innovation looks like.”


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