Business Analyst Report on Williams-Sonoma

Business Analyst Report on Williams-Sonoma, Inc. and Social Media Use

Executive Summary

In this business analyst report, LLD Social Media Solutions carried out an analysis of our client, Williams-Sonoma, Inc. (WSM) to study  the social media  use in the activity of the company. The aspects evaluated were the customer service and support and public relations, marketing and sales, and the global presence and cultural accommodation. We have rated the company’s performance of each function on a scale of 1-5, whereby 5 is the highest score attainable.

1= Very weak or no presence        2= Needs to improve        3= Adequate   4= Good        5= Excellent.

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The Significance of Social Media Use in Business

Following the introduction of the social media, many changes have taken place in the manner at which companies carry out their marketing activities. Social media does not only attract the attention of consumers, but are also about making a company be aware of current trends in the society.

In the manufacturing and retail industry, organizations constantly compete to uphold their position of being the most long-lasting, unique, or elegant brand. Because of this reason, it will be important for them to have a social representation that promotes or matches the aspired status. This social presence can be achieved by employing technologies such as Google+, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. Some manufacturers, particularly make use of the social media to increase their market share and win new customers. Others companies, for example, Tesla Motors, use it as their sole means of advertising and marketing.

Global Presence and Cultural Accommodation

The success of the company in an international market space is dependent on the ability to adapt its products and formulate marketing strategies that suit the particular target markets. This function talks about the availability and the reputation of the company in the global market. Global presence shows how well a company is doing at the international level and how well the company is doing in satisfying the needs of the consumers in their industry or sector. Social media is the pillar in the success of this function, since it is among the best approaches to locate and keep in touch with customers worldwide. We looked at the availability of websites and social media sites in different languages and the alteration of products based on feedbacks while evaluating Williams-Sonora.

Marketing and Sales

This function has exhibited the highest change following the introduction of the social media, relating to how the information is relayed and how the customers receive it. The companies have adapted to a more personal way of advertising their products, and this makes the consumers learn more about the product by following it in their social media on a daily basis. The adoption of social media for advertisement has shown to be very effective, both in performance and cost-wise. The cost effectiveness comes in because posting in these networks is free or the cost is low. It is effective because the company can target a certain group of consumers, but at the same time, the information can become available to other customers not targeted initially. While we were analyzing how effectively WSM employs social media for this purpose, we focused on the presence of the WSM’s products in the social media including Facebook, Twitter and Google+. We also looked at how the social communities involved were connected and active.

Customer Service and Support and Public Relations

The company must respond quickly to customers feedback and suggestions, questions, and complaints in order to maintain a good customer service in the social media platform. The company must closely monitor the sites so as to guarantee the best possible assistance to its customers. The passage of information within and between the company and its partners is very critical for the success of a business. We focused on how fast WSM responds to the feedbacks from the customers and how they fare in terms of offeringf helpful information and support service to their customers. We also looked at how efficiently WSM utilized the social media in the communication between its employees and between the business partners.

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Summary

We rated the performance of WSM in the use of social media as five out of five, i.e. as excellent. In the function of marketing and sales, we found that the company had most of its brands on social sites. On the global presence, we rated the company as 5 out of 5 as we found that the company improved its products based on the suggestions of the customers as well as to suit the cultural market. We also found that the company had a very good customer service in the social media world.

Williams-Sonoma, Inc. and Social Media Use

Background

William-Sonoma is a consumer retail company based in America that deals with home furnishing and other household goods such as furniture, kitchenware and linen. It also deals with some selected food material, lotions and soap.  Williams-Sonoma is a specialty retailer who prides itself on home furnishings. It was established in 1956 with its main office located in San Francisco. The ticker symbol of Williams-Sonoma is WSM. The two main ways used to sell the products of  Williams-Sonoma are retail and direct to the customers. The company runs retail stores in many countries all over the world, including some countries in the Middle East. The WSM’s mission statement is to be the  best provider in cooking and entertaining by offering quality products. Williams-Sonoma mission statement clarifies the company wants to position itself as a leader in order to be proficient. Its devotion to being a global home and kitchen seller is emphasized by its corporate values. The mission of the WSM is to improve the quality of their consumers’ home life (Williams-Sonoma Inc., n.d.).

Evaluation of Functions

Global Presence and Cultural Accommodation

To attain a position of the leading designer, the  producer and the retailer of common brands in home and kitchen furnishing industry in the U.S, WSM produces unique, durable and high quality products. Because of the uniqueness and the quality, WSM’s products are known globally. The company has recorded an increase in their sales and the market share. With their increasing presence in the global market and the enlarging customer base, it is significant for WSM to provide their customers with the opportunity to give recommendations and suggestions, share their experiences as well as get the latest information about their current and new products in the market. In this case, WSM can use the customers’ feedback to improve their products. The company can also expand the content of their websites using the same feedbacks.

The positive customers’ experiences concerning the company’s products spread easily and quickly through social media framework. WSM has adapted to the use of social media sites such asTwitter, Facebook, YouTube and Google+ in order to facilitate social media framework. WSM has altered most of their products in order to adapt to different regional markets and cultures. For instance, in the U.S, the wealthy class of the population likes to use large, elegant leather seats and other furniture that signify the status, quality and style. As a result, WSM has designed more furniture that fits those customers, and this move has contributed to the rise of the company’s sales in the U.S with more positive responses from the consumers. Another example is the appreciation of the nature’s beauty by the American people. WSM works closely with the agencies that promote craft communities in designing their products worldwide. This has also shown a positive shift in the company’s sales and recognition in the world market (IBISWorld, n.d.).

According to these examples, WSM has been actively utilizing social media to keep in touch with its global customers. As a result, we ranked WSM as 5 out of 5 in the function of global presence and cultural accommodation.

Marketing and Sales

The largest market of the WSM is the U.S.. As a result, it is appropriate to analyze the WSM’s market in this region. According to the Daily Finanace (2012), William Sonoma company is the leading profitable retailer with the  most common brands of home and kitchen furnishings in the United States (Johnson, 2012).The leading position of the company in America is seen as the achievement , especially due to high competition from other companies. According to Mergent Online (2014), WSM’s total sales revenue for the year 2013 was $ 4 billion. Its sales in 2012 and 2013 rose by 8%. The company’s return on equity in 2013 was19.7%. WSM earnings per share (EPS) for the same year were rated at $ 2.54. The kitchen and cooking utensils accumulated 8.9% of the market share. William Sonoma’s annual   earnings per share were $2.96 in 2014 (Mergent Online, 2014).

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WSM does most of its marketing using the social media so as to expand the market share and win more customers and thus increasing their sales. In fact, a large percentage of the sales is done online. According to Socialbakers (n.d.), WSM has 544,791l fans in the U.S that constitutes 88.0 % of the total fan base. The fan base of the WSM is also growing daily at the rate of 191 fans a day and is distributed worldwide. The fans are very active and an interaction of about 8 million.  Williams-Sonoma proved to be successful when it comes to using Twitter and Facebook in marketing. WSM promoted its products and won more customers who were attracted to buy the products and thus the market share increased significantly. Promoting products using social media is much cheaper as compared to using other media e.g. television and print adverts. Social media also allows for easy interactions with the consumers. The company can cut down on cost that can be used to explore other markets. In this category, we also rated the company as 4 out of 5 (Socialbakers, n.d.).

Customer Service and Support and Public Relations

A high-quality customer service guarantees a high level of customer satisfaction that in turn leads to increased volume of sales and expansion of the market share index. In the manufacturing of home furnishings and cookery industry, the companies strive to provide the consumers  with the best services , thus making it simpler and easier to buy a product. As a market leader, both in the U.S and globally, WSM is focused on providing the best services to its customer base. The customers have possibilities to post their experiences, critiques, recommendations and suggestions on social media pages. WSM will be able to have a direct interaction with the customers by reviewing and addressing the customer’s concerns on media such as Facebook and Twitter, on a public platform. This interaction gives prospective customers the impression that the process of purchasing of the company’s products will be simple and smooth. The company can also use this as a tool to collect information from the consumers, which can help them improve their performance as well as predict the product demand to meet all orders in time.

Apart from customer service, WSM uses social media as a tool of communication with its employees and numerous stakeholders in the industry to uphold its corporate values and the public image of the company. Since WSM provides quality services through social media sites, we rated the company 5 out of 5 for this function (IBISWorld, n.d.).

Recommendations

Although WSM has expanded its existence in the social media world, the company still has a lot to do in order to fuel their endeavors further. For instance, we found the fan base of the company to be relatively insufficient. We also found the company’s fan base to be concentrated in the U.S.. As a result; the company should invest more in marketing so as to diversify its fan base and make its impact to be felt more globally.

Conclusion

William-Sonoma, Inc. (WSM) is a consumer retail company based in America that deals with home furnishings and other household goods in the international market. The products of  WSM are famous for their uniqueness and quality. The current trend in the society is shifting towards social media. WSM has succeeded in making itself present finding its plqace in the world of social media. Hence, it can interact easily with the consumers and make the information about its products available to everyone. We give WSM 5 out of 5 for its presence and continuous use of social media for the business success.

Williams-Sonoma fans
Figure 1. Williams-Sonoma fans. (Socialbakers, n.d)

Graphical representation of grades
Evaluation of WSM performance in using the social media
Figure 2. Evaluation of WSM performance in using the social media.

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