News Feature | February 21, 2014

Williams-Sonoma Finds Strength In Online, Catalog Sales

Source: Innovative Retail Technologies

By Kara Murphy, contributing writer, Integrated Solutions For Retailers

Williams-Sonoma Logo

The company has success engaging customers across channels

Williams-Sonoma is poised to have an exceptional year.  Retailers offering products for the home should reap the benefits of a rising economy and housing market, explains Marshall Hargrave for The Motley Fool. Among these retailers, Williams-Sonoma is well positioned, with growth in both its e-commerce and brick-and-mortar business, to engage customers across channels.  

The company has worked hard to build momentum with its furniture brand, West Elm, which saw a 22 percent increase in comparable sales in the company’s third quarter and topped $500 million in 2013. While West Elm showed the largest growth, all of Williams-Sonoma brands are doing well, with comparable-store sales growing by 8.2 percent in Q3 2013.

This success is due, in part, to direct sales — both from catalog and website — which account for about half of the company’s sales. Also, the company leverages its  catalog — featuring a new design that makes it look more like a magazine —  and its website to showcase items in its retail stores.

Catalogs offer a unique opportunity to drive traffic to both the store and its website.

In addition, the company’s website links to its blog, Taste. The blog provides recipes, trends, entertaining and gift ideas, and DIY projects, as well as interviews with chefs and authors and opportunities to learn through classes and primers. Visitors can browse a selection of Williams-Sonoma’s staff’s “sites we like” and link directly to the company’s pages on social media so customers can continue to engage with the retailer.