June 19, 2013, 11:25 AM

Home décor e-retailer Wayfair unveils a shoppable image gallery

The Inspiration Gallery features 2,500 photos from established designers.

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Home furnishings and décor retailer Wayfair LLC is putting its products in their place—in actual rooms designed by professional decorators. The retailer debuted on its web site this week a set of 2,500 home interior photos that customers can click to shop, and which is called the Inspiration Gallery.

“If you know you’re looking to spice up your living room but aren’t sure which products you want, a page with 3,000 sofas seems like a daunting starting point,” says Sarah Donner, project manager for the Inspiration Gallery. “The gallery is a way to engage shoppers who are browsing, looking to get inspired or who might need to visualize cohesive looks before deciding what they want to buy.”

Overlaid on each image in the gallery are a handful of small boxes outlining key products. When a customer clicks inside a box, the matching product from Wayfair’s catalog and a few similar items appear in a sidebar. A consumer can click on a product to buy it, or drag and drop products she’d like to save onto a “Clipbar” that pops up at the bottom of the page and holds items she’s collected as she moves around the site. The Clipbar debuted in April as a way to let shoppers collect items—like a table, chairs and a matching chandelier—and see how they look side by side without having to fill a cart, Donner says.

Donner says she expects the gallery to increase conversions and customer engagement with Wayfair.com.  The new shopping tool appears in the Inspiration section of the web site now, though Wayfair plans to gradually incorporate it into other parts of the shopping process in time, she says.

“While there are many resources available for inspiration in interior design, the process of finding furniture and decor items to create specific looks has never been easy,” says Niraj Shah, Wayfair CEO and co-founder. “We believe the Inspiration Gallery will transform the way people shop for their homes as they discover how easy it can be to achieve the home decorating looks they love—all in one place.”

Wayfair plans to more than double the number of new design images in the gallery over the next several months, Donner says. For now, only professional designers and architects, not customers, may sign up for an account with Wayfair to add their own images to the gallery. The retailer is also building a searchable directory of interior design professionals accessible from the gallery, she says.

Wayfair is No. 52 in the 2013 Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide.

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