Customers Return for Williams-Sonoma
April 13, 2010

As consumers kept a tight lid on spending, Williams-Sonoma felt the pressure. Profit and sales sank like a souffle gone bad. In the fiscal year ended January 2009, sales fell 15 percent. Profit dropped to the lowest point in years, to 35 cents a share vs. $1.76 the year before. But the pots and pans are banging again. Shoppers seem to be back in stores, and not just looking.

Google Launches Mobile Product Search Tool
March 11, 2010

Vic Gundotra, VP of Engineering, demonstrated last December a preview version of Product Search for mobile with local inventory, which lets you see right in your search results whether items are in stock at nearby stores. We're happy to announce that as of today, if you're searching for a product that is sold by participating retailers, including Best Buy, Sears, Williams-Sonoma, Pottery Barn, or West Elm, you can just look for the blue dots in the search results to see if it's available in a local store. If you see a blue dot, you can tap on the adjacent "In stock nearby" link, and you'll be taken to the seller's page where you'll see whether the item is "In Stock" or has "Limited Availability" near you. You'll also see how far away the stores are from you -- as long as you've enabled My Location or manually specified your location.

Design Tips to Optimize Your Email Campaigns
December 15, 2009

In a session at last month's All About eMail Virtual Conference & Expo, presented by our sister publication eM+C, Megan Walsh, email marketing manager for home furnishings retailer Williams-Sonoma, provided a checklist of creative best practices to help email marketers optimize return on investment. Here's a recap of Walsh's presentation.

3 Tactics for Email: Promote, Personalize and Be Relevant
July 21, 2009

Multichannel marketers have an ideal way to boost sales, but not all of them use it. The method: sending emails to announce the arrival of a catalog. In a famous case study a few years ago, gifts and gadgets marketer Miles Kimball performed the optimal test.

Principles of Catalog Shopping for Retailers, Part 1 of 2
October 1, 2008

Many retailers are finding catalogs to be an important adjunct to their retail businesses. They realize that once they’ve obtained customers, the catalog mailing is an effective way to bind those customers to their brands and expand awareness of their products. In the first of a two-part series targeted at multichannel merchants who have significant retail businesses, below are five of the 10 key principles to augment your retail/multichannel program with catalogs and the Web. 1. Exploit the phenomenon of multichannel lift. Mailing a catalog delivers sales in its own right while increasing the value of customers who originate in the store or on

E-Mail Applied: Change the Subject
June 1, 2008

Subject lines carry a lot of weight. They drive open rates and results. After e-mail recipients look at your “from” line and recognize your company or service, the next thing they do is look at the subject line to see what might interest them. Let’s examine some of the latest techniques for getting customers past the e-mail client and into your site. Free to Use ‘Free’ In the past, marketers were warned not to use the word “free” in a subject line. The concern was that it triggered spam filters and reduced chances of delivery. Since “free” is the most powerful four-letter

How Williams-Sonoma Adopted a Marketing Sciences Approach Across Its Brands
March 18, 2008

During a session at last week’s NEMOA Conference in Cambridge, Mass., Peter Grebus, who heads Williams-Sonoma’s customer information management group, explained a two-pronged approach the home furnishings multichannel marketer has used to increase the adoption of marketing sciences for intuition across the organization. Specifically, he noted that in the short run, Williams-Sonoma has focused on a “four walls” process. The multititle multichannel marketer, whose direct business comprises 42.2 percent of its sales, has emphasized the integration of browse and purchase data to enable contextual selling across channels. This includes the following: * dynamic content and recommendations; * data that’s currently constrained by the

Cataloger-Relevant Cherry-Pickin’s From eTail Conference
February 15, 2008

When I attend industry conferences, I do quite a lot of cherry-picking. After all, there’s quite a lot of information spread around, but not a lot of it’s relevant to catalogers and multichannel marketers. So for this week’s edition of The Corner View, I took it upon myself to attend many sessions from the eTail Conference, held Feb. 11-14 in Palm Desert, Calif., and whittle down these experiences into the top 10 ideas, tips, points and company activities I took in during the event. I only attended sessions with panels that included catalog/multichannel marketers. The most noteworthy subjects they discussed included exploring