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One year ago, Williams-Sonoma CEO Laura Alber touted the company’s mission of providing memorable customer experience.
“We are pursuing distinct strategies to grow each of our brands and we are relentlessly focused on our customers and on improving our execution,” Alber said at the time. “Everything we do is through this lens. It determines our strategy and it guides our priority. Providing a richer and more integrated shopping experience is a long-term priority and we believe technology is essential to enabling an outstanding customer experience.”
Fast forward one year and Alber, speaking during the company’s third-quarter earnings conference call, holds the customer as the key to the company’s engagement efforts.
“As we look to the balance of the year, we believe that the customer is resilient and will spend money on the holidays, especially for their home and with brands they love,” Alber said. “And we’re entirely focused on delivering a better experience for our customers this holiday season. We continue to make great progress on our customer-centric initiative, which includes supply chain and inventory improvement, innovative products at the best value, marketing strategies to increase new customer acquisition, and enhancements of the retail experience.”
Supply chain improvements, driven by a better positioning of inventory, resulted in fewer out-of-market shipments and improved order completeness.
“We significantly reduced delivery occurrences, resulting in more customers receiving complete orders in one delivery,” Alber noted. “These types of improvements are particularly important as they simultaneously provide a better customer experience while also reducing freight costs. As we enter the 2016 holiday season, we expect shopping will occur late in the quarter and we have prepared for the season with investments in process improvements and employee training in our distribution centers and believe we're well positioned for improved holiday fulfillment performance relative to last year. These enhancements and efficiencies will help drive faster order fulfillment in our DCs for this holiday season, as well as improve efficiencies and the overall customer experience by reducing the shipment for multiple cartons to the customer's home to fulfill a complete order.”
What’s more, Albert said company officials have taken a “very aggressive approach to our retail and real estate strategies to improve the experience in our stores. We’re underway with extensive analysis of our stores, reviewing locations in looking at ways to optimize our fleet. As a result of our analysis, we have identified stores that may close upon natural lease expiration. And, at the same time, we’re also investing in store remodels and are seeing good results.”
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