Both of these companies offer the consumer incredible selection. I don’t know who needs to look at 301 different Chef Knives (there were other things in this selection than just the knives like sharpeners and sleeves) but you can find that many on the Williams Sonoma site. There are many gift ideas on both of these sites as well.
So, when we shop a retail store, we look to see how the store is “working.” We want to know how it appears to the consumer, how it works for the sales-people and how it works for management.
When we are Shopping in Place (SIP), we want to ask some of those same questions.
- How does the site work for the consumer?
- Williams Sonoma- While I think the site is good, the entry to the site is quite busy. Yesterday, when I checked into the site, they were having a sale with up to 70% off. Great sale, but it was pushing me to all their other brands, and not to the Williams Sonoma brand I wanted to visit. It was confusing. I also felt they were selling me more on the Williams Sonoma lifestyle and not the company.
- Sur La Table- This site was much easier to navigate. It was easier to get to the merchandise, and after all, that is what people came to the site to find in the first place.
- Williams Sonoma-Williams Sonoma is a clear winner in this category, especially in the area of already prepared food. It is the difference between a Hostess cupcake and a Bouchon Bakery cake. I would eat both, but I would savor my Bouchon Bakery cake. The background of all their photos has activity happening.
- Sur La Table-What was interesting about the product search is how organized it is and how beautiful the pictures are. They are in the business of selling merchandise, so they have really gone to great length to allow you to see the product well. There is a clean and concise background for each product.
- Williams Sonoma- They are selling a lifestyle and they do a very good job at this. They want you to think of them when you think of cooking, of making your family life more enjoyable. With that in mind they have created a terrific recipe collection and it is yours for the taking. I looked up Parker House Rolls because it is one of Terri’s favorites. They had four different recipes for me to choose from. They also had Parker House rolls for me to purchase if I just wanted to look like I could cook. I think this gives the consumer a great reason to come back to their website. By the way, if you have never purchased a William Sonoma cook book you should; you will be delighted. Their cookbooks have great photos and professionally written recipes
- Sur La Table-They have a magic button on their website, and it is very easy to find. The button says Discover. All I can say is WOW! These guys are right on point with their “Lets Cook Together (Apart). How could you position your company more appropriately than that. Grocery stores are busy because people cannot eat out. People who have not cooked before need help. Sur La Table has made cooking classes an integral part of their retail experience. And, when you go to their site the teaching videos are very good. They take a novice chef and walk him through the entire process. It will give you confidence in making chicken soup (very easy by the way). You can also make adult mac and cheese. This is right in their wheel-house. I would tell you this will give a leg up for Sur La Table when things return to normal, or whatever normal is when we get back to it.
As I said from the beginning, both sites are terrific. I would tell you I think Sur La Table is a bit easier to navigate than William Sonoma. Both have great product and pricing is similar. If there is a scale bender in my opinion it is Sur La Table being more in tune to what is going on in the world today. And taking their strength and presenting it to the customer with great relevancy.