Williams-Sonoma, Inc., nurtures lifelong relationships with data.

See how the retailer uses Data + AI + CRM + Trust to engage consumers at every stage of life.

Time to read: 4.8 minutes
 
 
Almost 70 years later, Williams-Sonoma, Inc., continues the legacy of its founder with customer-centric marketing, innovation, and personalization. The key ingredient? Data.
 

A stand mixer. A quilted comforter. A chair. These may seem like everyday household items, but to some, they’re treasures to carry from one stage of life to the next. As a teen goes to college or a new couple furnishes their first home, Williams-Sonoma, Inc., is there to meet them with high-quality products that serve their unique needs.

That’s the legacy Chuck Williams built when he opened the company’s first store in 1956. Today, Williams-Sonoma, Inc., delivers on Chuck’s vision of customer-centric business by serving up beauty and inspiration to the right people at the right time.

Each of Williams-Sonoma, Inc.’s nine brands, including Williams Sonoma, Pottery Barn, Pottery Barn Kids, PBteen, West Elm, Williams Sonoma Home, Rejuvenation, Mark & Graham, and GreenRow, serves a different audience — and requires a tailored customer message. As a result, Williams-Sonoma, Inc., delivers millions of personalized emails to their loyal customers around the world on a daily basis.

With world-class, in-house technology as its foundation, the retailer turned to Salesforce Customer 360 for a platform it could trust during its busiest selling seasons, including Black Friday.

“We have always had a history of in-house innovation,” said Laura Alber, CEO. “However, bringing in Salesforce as a partner to help us augment that innovation and continually improve the connection to our customers made sense. They are not afraid to grow with us and help us scale our marketing email program, while sharing a core value of trust.”

Here’s how Williams-Sonoma, Inc., uses Salesforce to meet customers at the right moments while, building lasting relationships that create brand loyalists for generations to come.

 
 

“With Salesforce, we have a partner that not only enables the integration of innovation, but welcomes it. The platform allows us to really layer in our own capabilities to deliver the customer experiences we want at scale, securely and reliably.”

Sameer Hassan, SVP, Technology
 

1. Tailor emails to deliver inspiring messages customers look forward to.

Pottery Barn customers seek inspiration. GreenRow customers care deeply about sustainable design. With varying customer interests across brands and international sites, building email and SMS messages requires careful audience targeting and personalization.

Williams-Sonoma, Inc., houses a vast database of first-party data like online/offline transactions and browsing history, as well as third-party data. The company creates a 360-degree view of each customer, using Data Cloud to segment the data into niche audiences like college students or newlyweds. When the moment is right, Marketing Cloud then triggers email messages featuring dynamic images and content. For instance, when data shows customers may be ready to purchase a toddler bed based on their past crib purchase, tailored emails help them choose.

“Personalization is table stakes,” said Abby Teisch, SVP of Marketing. “We not only want to show you the product, we want to tell you how to use it, how to cook with it, and what it’ll look like in your home.”

Williams-Sonoma, Inc., also plans to explore Salesforce Einstein’s generative AI capabilities to deliver even more personalized communications, efficiently and at scale.

 
 
 

Personalize customer experiences at scale with AI + Data + CRM.

Marketing personalization, powered by AI, is inspiring customer relationships. In this e-book, you’ll discover the importance of personalization, and how you can create a strategy of your own, including how to:

  • Create personalized experiences across channels
  • Increase the ROI of every site visit
  • Build customer loyalty with trust
 

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2. Contribute to email program growth of subscribers with intentional implementation and marketing guidance.

Williams-Sonoma, Inc., envisioned a marketing platform that could not only handle its massive sends, but provide more targeted and personalized customer journeys for long-term company growth. In under eight months, Salesforce Professional Services partnered with Williams-Sonoma, Inc., to implement Marketing Cloud and Data Cloud — typically a 12–18-month engagement.

The company also sought expert service to help scale its business and ensure security during peak seasons. Now, Williams-Sonoma, Inc., teams meet regularly with a technical account manager as part of the company’s Signature Success Plan. The partnership ensures maximized performance, maintains stability, and accelerates time to value. Already, the company’s successful adoption of Marketing Cloud has contributed to email program growth.

 
months to implement a 12–18-month engagement
 
new subscribers
 
 

3. Sell to B2B customers and provide faster support with efficient sales and service.

Williams-Sonoma, Inc., also serves B2B customers with furniture and home goods for places like offices, Airbnb properties, hotels, or coffee shops. Teams use Sales Cloud and Service Cloud for a more efficient end-to-end sales process from onboarding to support. Businesses can place bulk orders through a sales rep, using Salesforce for negotiations, approvals, discounts, and collaboration. From there, both Sales Cloud and Service Cloud help B2B teams analyze customer activity to create potential upsell opportunities.

Since Salesforce is integrated with the company’s order management system, sales reps receive proactive notifications when customers order products. Williams-Sonoma, Inc., also improves service efficiency with a chat integration, increasing first-contact resolution and decreasing handle times to support customers faster.

 
 

4. Automate and centralize work, saving employees thousands of hours per year.

Serving millions of global customers can be challenging across brands and departments. To centralize knowledge and accelerate work, Williams-Sonoma, Inc.’s internal IT teams use Slack.

Williams-Sonoma, Inc., has completely transformed its processes without the need for heavy IT involvement. Through integrations with 27 third-party systems, the company can break down data silos, eliminate meetings, and drive productivity between teams, partners, and customers. Williams-Sonoma, Inc., also uses AI and automation to make workflows dramatically more efficient with Workflow Builder.

In fact, Williams-Sonoma, Inc.’s in-house technology teams have reduced meeting lengths and saved thousands of hours per year. That means teams can spend more time on strategic functions like product development.

 
 

5. Explore the power of AI to scale business for the future.

Williams-Sonoma, Inc., isn’t stopping at large-scale personalization or automated selling. Following in the footsteps of its founder, Williams-Sonoma, Inc., is constantly looking for more ways to delight customers — this time with AI. Pairing its own internal innovation with Salesforce, Williams-Sonoma, Inc., plans to explore machine learning, generative AI, and automation to scale its marketing even further.

“AI helps our teams make more informed decisions,” said Alber. “It creates efficiencies within our business, and it allows us to be agile as we connect with millions of our customers around the world on a daily basis.”

 
 
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