The Williams-Sonoma (WSM) Company is specialized in the retail of home products which are sold through two distribution channels; the vending channel and the direct-to-customer channel. In this case, the retail channels had 522 stores operating in 42 states in the whole of America including Washington, D.C. On the other hand, the direct-to-customer catalogs operated throughout the United States. It can further be argued that the retail channels made more sales as compared to the catalog channels as can be seen from the 2003 fiscal statistics. In this year, the retail channels accounted for more than half of the total sales with approximately 59% of the total sales; while the catalog channel accounted for roughly 41%. It can also be argued that this company started with the retail channels in the year 1956; but improved to the catalog channels in the year 1972 to reach more customers throughout America (Wheelen & Hunger, 2010).
It can be argued that WSM Company has been expanding at a very high rate increasing its sales through opening up new sale sites in the whole of America. From the case, it can be argued that from 1956 this company has been inventing new home products, and at the same time opening sale sites. This can be used to argue that within the next five years, the WSM Company will have established its sales worldwide even to the developing countries; where it has not opened up new retail stores. Further, through the introduction of internet marketing strategies like e-commerce sites; the company was able to market its products to the outside world countries like Europe and Asia thus increasing its profits. Based on this it can be argued that within the next five years the WSM Company would be selling nearly all kinds of home products. As indicated by Edward Mueller the WSM Company CEO, the initiation of the Pottery Barn Kids catalog which offered children furniture; was expected to be the main expanding medium for the company over the next duration of years. This is because; it has the potential to reach a wide variety of customers worldwide which could, in turn, increase the company’s sales. It can further be seen from the internet Mini case that; the company expands its online marketing strategies through the opening of new websites. It can also be argued that this company has strategies and objectives which help it in trading products that meet every class in America. In addition, it can be said that the company would increase its retail stores from 522 to one thousand which would be opened up in other states to make the number one hundred states (Nash, 2000).
On the other hand, the WSM Company’s CEO would recommend the direct-to-customer channels strategies as they can reach a large number of customers all over the United States; and the rest of the world in a short time. In this case, most people would find it easy to purchase the company’s products from internet sellers. In this case, as technology develops; most people would be buying products through online sellers. It can be further seen from the statements of Edward Mueller that the Pottery Kids catalog would be the company’s main growth medium over the next duration of years. This is because it would reach many customers worldwide; who would like to get informed about the company’s products. Despite the fact that retail channels were doing well in terms of the number of sales made in the 2003 fiscal year; the catalog channels would increase their sales by opening many new websites. Further, the direct-to-customer channels build awareness of the brand, thus acting as an efficient advertising style. In addition, the CEO would recommend this channel because it is cost-effective in terms of knowing whether their new products have been accepted in the market. It can further be said that the direct-to-customer channel assists the company gets to a higher level as far as the connections made with customers are concerned (Aaker, 2001).
On the other hand, it can be seen from the internet Mini case that, WSM Company’s competitors had different competitive strategies. Based on this, the Crate and Barrel Company had catalog mails and websites that helped in marketing its products nationwide. On the other hand, it beautified its store displays and sold its products at an affordable price hence competing with the WSM Company. In addition, the Restoration Hardware Company used both retail and catalog channels in marketing its product. It can be argued that this company targeted the wealthiest population in America; even though at a lesser percentage as compared to the WSM Company. In terms of retail channels, the Restoration Hardware Company had difficulties in trying to expand (Paley, 1999).
Additionally, the Pier 1 Imports Company had three channels of retail stores named Pier 1 Imports; The Pier and Cargo. In this case, it’s operated in the whole of the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, and Mexico where it operated a store-within-a-store format. On the other hand, the Bombay Company emphasized traditional fittings, wall furnishings, and accessories. In this case, this company operated retail channels in America and Canada and also had outlets that increased its sales. It can further be argued that the Door Store Company was a private company that operated in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. Based on this, its products were of quality available to style-conscious customers; at prices too good to be true. It should be noted that the Door Store Company also marketed through website and shipping nationwide. Lastly, the Rolling Pin Kitchen Emporium Company held licensed kitchen and housewares concepts. Additionally, this company marketed its products through retail stores and websites (Wheelen & Hunger, 2010).
It can also be argued that of all these companies, the Crate and Barrel Company had the best strategies since its products were of low prices which could be afforded by most of the customers in America. On the other hand, this company had both retail and catalog marketing strategies, hence reaching a wide variety of customers. In this case, it can be argued that the catalogs complemented retail channels in marketing (Nash, 2000).
It can further be seen from the case that, the WSM Company uses the internet in marketing through mail catalogs and e-commerce. In this case, the company uses the internet to complement the retail business in creating awareness in customers and advertising the products. It can also be argued that in the future the WSM Company would use internet sites in the selling of its product; where the customers can purchase through money transfers and electronic money payment modes. In this case, this company may expand its online marketing to the rest of the world by increasing the number of websites (Aarker, 2001).
In winding up, the WMS Company has used diverse methods of marketing that assist it in reaching a wide number of customers. In this case, the two methods used in marketing by the WSM Company complement each other hence increasing the level of sales.
Aaker, D. (2001). Developing Business Strategies, 6th edition. London: Wiley Publishers.
Nash, E. (2000). Direct Marketing: Strategy, Planning, Execution, 4th edition. New York: McGraw-Hill.
Paley, N. (1999). The Manager’s Guide to Competitive Marketing Strategies, 2nd edition. Florida: CRC Press.
Wheelen, T. & Hunger, D. (2010). Concepts in Strategic Management and Business Policy, 12th edition. New Jersey: Pearson Prentice Hall Publishers.