If Williams-Sonoma continues with its present strategies and objectives, where will it be in 5 years?
With the strengthened supply chain operations that resulted from sourcing east coast functions of FY2007, Williams-Sonoma has the potential of emerging a leading company amongst its competitors in the next five years. This is due because of the company’s strengthened infrastructure in order to facilitate an enhanced experience in delivery among its core customers (Stephenson, 2010, para. 1-3).
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Additionally, the combination of the 309 retail stores and the mail-order concept will help Williams-Sonoma remain a leading home-centered specialty dealer in the U.S. This is as a result of its dominant stores that ensure the company’s customers have a retail shopping experience. The stores include Pottery Barn, William-Sonoma, and Hold Everything. More so, is because of the unique home furnishings catalogs (Duff, 2010, para. 1-4).
Over the next five years, Williams-Sonoma’s online sales may rapidly increase to even up to $ 2.5 billion if the company maintains and enhances its current growth trend. This is because of the dominance in online home furnishings. Furthermore, the data collected via the catalogs give the business a marketing punch. Through the catalog concept, the business has collected 52 million names at the expense of its competitors.
The exclusive merchandise in William-Sonoma has made the company ‘Amazon proof’ (Internet society, 2010, para1-3). With this strategy, the retailer will be able to sell different products to the initial consumers. For example, with the data stored about buyers of its toddler beds, they will be able to sell teen goods. In the next five years, Williams-Sonoma will also be having a wide range of new stores (Brahan, 2010, para.3).
If you were the CEO of William-Sonoma, what strategies would you recommend, and why?
As the CEO of Williams-Sonoma, it will be necessary to understand that pricing is a major factor for any business that aims at attaining a competitive advantage. More so is the need to balance between the value of the product and the price. To attain a competitive advantage it is important to stress the quality of the products (Williams-Sonoma, inc, 2009, para. 1). It is imperative for the company to re-mix its assortment and improve retail stores. I will put more focus on the prices. In line with this strategy, the company will work on a continuous reduction of operation rates. This is because pricing is a key factor in gaining a competitive advantage in the industry (Fortune 500 global, 2009, para. 1-4).
I will adopt the strategic advantage of having multiple sales platforms as compared to the company’s competitors: the home depot, Crate & Barrel, Restoration hardware, and Pier 1 Imports. I would recommend that the business consider various sales platforms like the internet, catalogs as well as retail stores for the marketing of their products. More so, there is the need to design comprehensive modes of managing the multiple retail outlets in order to maximize customers’ proximity (Templon, 2008, para. 1-2).
The other strategy that I would work upon is establishing a strong infrastructure by enlarging the store base. I would ensure that the company’s distribution centers have adequate floor-space (Direct marketing, 1999, para 3-4). Importantly, a strong infrastructure must be strengthened that will support the increased growth of emerging and core brands. The total leased retail space will be subsequently increased. The expansion of the store base will check for proximity with the customers and enhance brand awareness. More so is because stores ensure that there are a personal touch and tangible consumer experiences (Fortune 500 global, 2009, para. 3-5).
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As the CEO of the company, I would also focus on a strategy that establishes and maintains a strong collection of brands. The strong brand portfolio in Williams-Sonoma will cut across the accessories and the home furnishing sector.
The brand will therefore cater to the different needs of the customer’s hence satisfying middle and upper-class customers (Bonney, 2010, para. 1-3). The brands, PBteen, Williams-Sonoma Home, and West Elm will be serving different customers. I would ensure that PBteen fully satisfies teens who form the majority of its users. All the other products should also be simple, modernized and theme-based to cater to the diverse needs in the diverse demographic segments hence attaining competitive advantage over its threats (Fortune 500 global, 2009, para. 1-4).
I would also work towards increasing online sales. Online shopping is one strategy that a company can adapt to gain a competitive edge. Online shopping has become very popular among most buyers in the U.S and is one way of increasing a company’s revenue. In line with this, I would ensure that Williams-Sonoma has established direct marketing so as to facilitate customers’ reach and maximize circulation with customer-oriented versioning. Such features as ‘next generation’ website upon Williams-Sonoma brand the company will accelerate its online sales hence tremendous revenue increase. This further cuts down on the company’s operating costs (Fortune 500 global, 2009, para. 4-7).
Describe the competitive strategies used by each of Williams-Sonoma’s competitors. Which of these strategies are the most effective? Support your answer.
Crate & Barrel
This company has the advantage of having designed magnificent store displays that no other company within the industry would copy. The uniqueness of the design has continued to give the business new customers that its competitors have failed to attain. More so Crate & Barrel works on products that are affordable to its customers. The company also settles into nationwide marketing through its catalog and website posing a threat to Williams-Sonoma (Rouse, 2005. p. 5).
Although the company treads on a similar platform as Pottery Barn, Restoration Hardware aims at the wealthiest 10%. The company deals with popular items like retro tools, steamer chairs that are distinct and original from Titanic and are well decorated with optometrists’ charts and foot duvets. This gives the company a competitive advantage (Rouse, 2005. p. 5).
Pier 1 Imports
A company like Williams-Sonoma deals with home specialty items. The company has adopted a competitive strategy of having three retail store chains functioning under the name Pier 1 Imports. It has other various stores in Canada, U.K, Sears Mexico and in the U.S (Rouse, 2005. p. 5).
The Bombay Company
The company operates 415 stores within 42 states, 46 outlet stores, and other 56 stores in 9 Canadian states. These outlets and stores have led to an increase in sales among its customers. Most of its sales come from accessories, furniture, wall décor, and the ready assembled products (Rouse, 2005. p. 6).
Just like most of Williams-Sonoma’s competitors, Door Store operates various retail stores in New Jersey, New York, and Connecticut. The company adopts the strategy of making quality furniture that suits different customer’s requirements at a reasonable cost. Additionally, the company markets through the web site (Rouse, 2005. p. 6).
Rolling Pin Kitchen Emporium
This is a private franchise that deals with houseware concept and kitchen products. The company has various store locations in North Carolina, Florida, and Arkansas. The company also markets through catalogs and web site.
The most effective strategy is that of Crate & Barrel, whereby, the company embarks on unique designs that no competitor can attain hence remaining dominant in the market (Rouse, 2005. p. 6).
How is Williams-Sonoma using the Internet as a distribution channel now, and how would you recommend that they use the Internet in the future?
Williams-Sonoma has a new e-commerce platform that enables business merchants to adjust their online sales with little help from IT. The company has also enhanced its customers ‘insight abilities hence making the mailing system more efficient. The company has intensified its online operations by being highly selective in mailing the catalogs. The company’s growth in the internet and store count stability has given the company an edge following the proximity of consumers (Timberlake, 2010, para. 1-2).
Williams-Sonoma retailers keep their customers living the lifestyle it does sell. The company has a dual-channel for its customers and has added a faster online presence. This has been enabled by the ability of its marketers to identify technology and translating the capabilities into direct competitive strategies (Sas, n.d, para.1-3). Williams-Sonoma utilizes its database to establish locations where the retail stores can most succeed. To support its in-house capabilities, Abacus Direct is maximized. The mailing catalogs contain important information about prospective customers who need to be introduced to the company’s products as well as the existing new customers who might buy other related products (Prophet, 2010, para.1-4).
I would recommend that the company develops systems that will help it prospect new customers in a more efficient way. This will be derived by tracking the purchasing behaviors of mail-order and retail customers. By such a database in the technology, the company can effectively target new sectors to venture after knowing the customers who buy certain merchandise products.
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