William-Sonoma has developed a new concept for it’s family of retails stores and is now offering free design services.

“To do this, Williams-Sonoma has created a 500-employee unit called the Design Crew to offer consumers free consultations. Consumers can visit any store where Design Crew employees are posted to advise them on things like fabrics or floor plans, using merchandise across the company’s brand portfolio. These employees can even make follow-up visits to the home. ”
— Thomas Lee, August 1, 2017, San Francisco Chronicle

Why has Williams-Sonoma taken this approach?

Competition from Amazon and brick-and-mortar competitors.

Slowing growth over the past few years.

They realized that offering an integrated package of services can be a source of value.

“The strategy makes even more sense when you examine the uneven performance of Williams-Sonoma brands. Last year, comparable-brand sales for Pottery Barn fell 3.5 percent but jumped 12.8 percent for West Elm. Using Design Crew, the company could use the popularity of West Elm to help improve sales for Pottery Barn by encouraging consumers to pair products from the two chains.”
— Thomas Lee, August 1, 2017, San Francisco Chronicle

What are the effects of bundling products?

The Dynamic Effects of Bundling as a Product Strategy  (HBS)

Product Bundling is a Smart Strategy — But There’s a Catch  (Forbes)

The Art of Product Bundling  (CleanLink)

Retail consultant Brian Kelly makes a key point in the original article:  “the key to the program is the authenticity of the person giving advice.”

Is authenticity the real key to growing your business?

Truth Will Out – Why Authenticity is the Key to Growing Your Business  (kissmetrics)

Authenticity in Sales: Why You’re Getting Shot Down  (Aberdeen Essentials)

6 Reasons Why Authenticity Results in More Sales  (HuffPost)

Authenticity may help with making the sale, but differentiation and constant evolution will help keep you ahead of the competition.

Williams-Sonoma utilization of design as a means to integrate services will have the added impact of hopefully increasing sales across the portfolio of stores with which they work.

Visited 1 times, 1 visit(s) today

Leave A Comment