Williams-Sonoma, whose brands include Pottery Barn and West Elm, recently announced several organizational changes. It recently appointed a new Chief Digital and Technology Officer, and attributes its recent success to its ongoing focus on digital. CEO Laura Alber has stated that the new appointments would help to “further integrate the rapid developments in digital technology into every aspect of our business.”
Digital integration is paying off. In 2013, Williams-Sonoma boasted its best holiday season in five years. Direct to consumer e-commerce sales account for nearly 44% of the company’s net revenues.
But digital is beginning to cast an even longer shadow– the L2 Intelligence Report: Omnichannel Retail reports that a “tipping point” of digital influence is near, with digital to influence a projected 50% of offline sales by September 2014. Keeping offline influence in mind, Williams–Sonoma has turned its attention to social media, especially Pinterest, to anchor influence efforts over the next year.
Pinterest remains somewhat of a dark horse of mainstream social media, but recent research suggest that the platform is still a good place for brands to invest. Last year, Piqora found that a pin on Pinterest generates on average 78 cents in sales and drives page views for several months after the initial pin. Williams-Sonoma CMO, Patrick Connolly, recently described Pinterest as a “great source of referral traffic” and exposure. Pottery Barn, acquired by Williams–Sonoma in 1986, was the first retail brand to partner with Pinterest, back “when they were in a tiny grange in Palo Alto,” said Connolly.
Pinterest is not quite the media darling like rival Instagram. Though Pinterest lags in terms of engagement and adoption (see Instagram: The Most Powerful Platform), the platform remains rife with potential opportunities for specialty retailers to engage with large native home ware, bridal, and other communities.