Live from DoubleClick’s Insight Conference: Multichannel Marketing the Williams-Sonoma Way

New York–Since it reorganized two years ago from a channel-specific strategy to a brand-specific strategy, multititle home prodcuts marketer Williams-Sonoma has seen its multichannel customers (30% of its total customer base) drive more than 65% of its sales–up from 50% two years ago. In a session, “Multichannel Retailing Williams-Sonoma Style” during marketing firm DoubleClick’s Insight conference here on March 1, Williams-Sonoma director of direct marketing services Jodi Watson discussed how the San Francisco-based company is approaching multichannel marketing going forward.

In addition to the multichannel customer data, she revealed a number of impressive statistics about the $2.7 billion company:

-For all its seven titles combined–Williams-Sonoma, Pottery Barn, Pottery Barn Kids, PBTeen, West Elm, Hold Everything, and Chambers–Williams-Sonoma will mail 384 million catalogs this year–40% of which will mail to customers in retail store areas

-the company’s total database is now in excess of 32 million names

-35%-40% of 2003 sales are expected to have come from catalog/Internet, once the company’s annual report comes out

-of the $250 million Williams-Sonoma plans to spend this year on advertising, 90% will be on the catalogs

-the Williams-Sonoma, Pottery Barn, West Elm, and Hold Everything brands now capture more than 70% of customer data at the store level

-the company has nearly 8 million customer e-mail addresses

-catalogs drive 15% of store purchases; retail stores report a 25%-30% lift in sales when catalogs drop

As Watson explained during her session, the company’s catalogs and e-mails drive all channels. But Williams-Sonoma sees its catalog effort today “almost as a loss leader channel,” Watson said, noting how catalog costs have only risen while more customers have turned to its Websites to order. “But you add retail, and the [catalog] performance improves dramatically.”

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