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Williams-Sonoma (WSM) Enhances Virtual Reality Experience


Williams-Sonoma, Inc. WSM launched the Pottery Barn 3D Room View augmented reality (AR) app on iOS for iPhone and iPad to enhance customers’ virtual reality experience. Shares of this multi-channel specialty retailer of premium quality home products jumped 9.4% on Nov 29.

Pottery Barn 3D Room View enables customers to virtually place life-sized, three-dimensional Pottery Barn products in a room and make purchases directly through their device. Again, customers can boost their virtual reality experience by scheduling a free design consultation with a Pottery Barn Design Crew expert, who can assist with the design process and offer customized suggestions.

Williams-Sonoma is focused on enhancing customer experience through improved and innovative marketing techniques. Its digital marketing investments in 2016 were focused on improving online shopping experience, especially in mobile, and increasing online advertising spend across all brands.

Meanwhile, Pottery Barn, the company’s largest brand, struggled in fiscal 2016 and early 2017. Although the brand’s comparable brand revenues are gradually gaining momentum with the company’s different effective initiatives, it is yet to show significant growth. Notably, Pottery Barn’s comparable brand revenues were down 0.3% in the last reported quarter compared with a decline of 4.6% in the prior-year quarter.

Nevertheless, Williams-Sonoma is in the middle of a transformation drive to address the slowdown in traffic and to gain customers. The company has been reworking on its marketing strategy, emphasizing more on digital-targeted marketing and investing in store remodeling.

Earlier this year, the company increased its digital advertising spend, which led to strong growth across all brands. In order to enhance customer experience, the company is using web tools that utilize augmented reality, creating videos on social media sites and making digital advertisements.

In fact, the company’s shares have gained 6.3% till date compared with the Zacks Home Furnishings Industry’s growth of 3.7%.However, estimates for the current fiscal quarter and year have moved down 3% and 1.4%, respectively, over the past 30 days, reflecting analysts’ concern on the stock’s prospect.

That said, strategic initiatives, innovative marketing techniques, focus on innovation and retail optimization are key growth drivers for this Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) company.

Zacks Rank & Key Picks

A few better-ranked stocks in the Retail-Wholesale sector are Beacon Roofing Supply, Inc. BECN, The Home Depot, Inc. HD and RH RH.

Beacon Roofing sports a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here .

The company’s current-year earnings are expected to increase 41.2%.

Current-year earnings for Home Depot are expected to grow 14.2%. The company carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

RH carries a Zacks Rank #2. Its current-year earnings are projected to grow 125.6%.

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