Monday, November 25, 2013

Williams-Sonoma: “About Us” Evaluation by Corporate

In 1956, Chuck Williams opened a store in Sonoma, California, that sold high-end kitchenware that few Americans had even heard of. By 1971 he had moved the store to San Francisco and had begun publishing a mail-order catalogue. The company went public in 1983; it now has over 250 stores and revenues in the billions. Its main About Us page is here.


Personality and Products: B
The text on the main About Us page is brief and not very exciting, but we do learn when the company was founded, what it sells, and its size. The best feature of the page, though, is the three photos above the text, which are very effective at conveying the style and quality for which Williams-Sonoma is famous.

The main About Us page includes a link to the page devoted to founder Chuck Williams. Instead of a bio, the page has a small image of Chuck surrounded by photos of brands and gadgets that he introduced to Americans: Le Creuset, Bundt cake pans, silicone spatulas, Wusthof knives. Rolling over a picture pops up a brief description of the item and a link so we can shop for it. This is a great way to make corporate history relevant: the page reminds us that without Chuck, we might never have heard of these items, and then gives us the option to buy them.

Accessibility: A
The Contact Us page offers the standard options (phone, email, fax), plus toll-free numbers for foreign customers and an online form. New to us was the “Let Us Call You” feature, which appears on every page. Those of us with limited phone minutes per month are always grateful if we can avoid time on hold. Our Commandment 8 of About Us pages is, “Remember to make yourself and your organization easily accessible.” “Let Us Call You” makes us feel like Williams-Sonoma really does want to speak to us.

Think about innovative ways to make it easier for your website visitors to reach you. And tie your business history into the history you share with your customers: it’ll be much more engaging.

Does your Web site’s “About Us” section accurately convey your organization’s history and capabilities? Every two weeks we evaluate one example, grading it in three areas that are key to potential customers: Personality (Who are you?), Products/Services (What can you do for us?), and Accessibility (How can we reach you?). To talk about your About Us page, contact us!
Today’s example was chosen at random; has no ties to this company.