In the current issue of The Idea Email (subscribe, view current issue), we explain why we’re inspired by how the retailer Williams-Sonoma has made the creation and use of customer media and content a part of their mission statement.
Here are three of our favorite ways they display their commitment to “helping customers become great cooks” in a way that adds value to the cookware they sell. (We could have added lots more.)
The Sous-Chef-Series: Williams-Sonoma has partnered with The Tasting Table for a free weekly email and website series featuring the stories of up-and-coming chefs from around the U.S. Why we like it: Great stories and recipes are coupled with Williams-Sonoma cookware that’s related to the dish being shared. A great example of “content-enabled commerce.”
Guides: Williams-Sonoma provides “big-picture” guides to topics ranging from Juicing to Outdoor Entertaining. These are the places to go when you don’t know where to start. Why we like it: Often, a customer doesn’t know what he or she doesn’t know. Before getting granular on a topic, Williams-Sonoma provides, literally, a Guide to Grains (and meats, herbs, etc.).
eCookbooks: Williams-Sonoma was an early mover in extending their collection of cookbooks and guides into iPad-friendly formats. (They also sell such eCookbooks from other publishers.) Why we like it: Because Williams-Sonoma believes content is a part of its mission, they were able to intelligently ignore a lot of the iPad pre-release debate that took place in the publishing industry over whether the IPad was going to be a “lean-back” device (something used primarily for content consumption) or a “lean-forward” device (one used for the creation of content and other things). Williams-Sonoma already had lots of familiarity with a medium, cookbooks, that have always served a dual purpose, both as lean-back inspiration and for lean-forward use in cooking. They knew the iPad offered the potential to become as much a kitchen tool as the whisk. How serious a tool? Williams-Sonoma now has, in addition to library full of eCookbooks, a branded iPad stand and sound system for the iPad that is kitchen-ready.