Williams-Sonoma Wows with Q1 Digital Effort
Even though all of its stores were closed for more than half of the first quarter, Williams-Sonoma managed to produce positive same store sales growth. The impressive accomplishment was possible due to strong demand for home products and cooking gear combined with robust e-commerce capabilities that made for an improved shopper experience.
The operator of 625 stores under banners such as Williams-Sonoma, Pottery Barn and West Elm, said its first quarter e-commerce revenues increased 31.2%. The big increase helped offset the impact of store closures, resulting in total sales of $1,235 billion for the period ended May 3 that were essentially flat with the prior year.
“In this highly disrupted environment, we are proud to deliver 2.6% comp growth in the first quarter, despite having all of our 616 stores closed for more than half of the quarter,” said Laura Alber, president and CEO of Williams-Sonoma. “Our large e-commerce business had breakout comp growth in the second half of the quarter and continues to accelerate. Our teams maximized demand online, leaning into new and innovative ways to engage and serve our customers virtually. We gained market share with strong new customer growth in our DTC business, giving us even more confidence in the growth trajectory of our e-commerce business longer term.”
According to Alber, the crisis has accelerated a shift to e-commerce, and given rise to a newfound appreciation for all things home that she expects to endure. To accommodate the shift, William-Sonoma accelerated the expansion of virtual design chat across all brands and virtual design appointments, launched “Ask the Expert” chat service in the Williams-Sonoma brand and launched contactless curbside pick-up at 475 locations. The company also altered delivery procedures to include a safety briefing with customers pre-delivery, maintaining 6 feet of separation from the customer at all times, and supplying masks, gloves and booties for all delivery employees.