Wayfair is an American digital retailer with nearly 11,000 employees, $6.2 billion in annual sales and ten million home-furnishing products made available across five different online brands.

The team responsible for undertaking consumer research and gathering the insights that can help boost these figures currently spans just six people. And this group has developed an approach for doing more with less – or what it calls “scrappy research”.

Erica Nelson, Wayfair’s head/consumer research, and Shelly McArdle, head/consumer insights, outlined the basic tenants of this approach at The Market Research Event (TMRE) in Phoenix, Arizona.

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Erica Nelson, head/consumer research, Wayfair

“We’re scrappy ... because we have to be,” Nelson said. “We’re a small team [with] very little budget, and we don’t have a lot of fancy tools to get our work done.” But those limitations, she said, have led the team “to think about research in new ways, to think outside the box.”