Pottery Barn: Where’s your Community?

Back in July I bought my first place– a purchase that has completely changed the way I shop. Now, instead of only perusing stores and websites for jeans, tops, and accessories, I find myself checking out the home section too. I’m excited by looking at paint swatches and watching HGTV’s “My First Place” and seeing how others “pull it all together.” And right now, I’m also quietly obsessed with Pottery Barn. 

Pottery Barn‘s website is pretty robust– they have a “Style House” section that features videos, design tips “for every room,” design tools, and heck, they even have a “furniture facts” section– where you can learn about your new sectional. But what their site lacks is a community element– something that surprised me.

pottery-barn-style-housePottery Barn, which sits under the Williams-Sonoma brand, already capitalizes on a super saturated marketplace and has a dedicated set of viewers looking for tips, trends, and design advice. Why not incorporate the voices of their consumers into the conversation? 

ShopStyleExampleMuch of Pottery Barn’s business model is achieved through direct marketing and mail initiatives (the catalogs do wonders for inspiring my home!), but they limit their potential by stopping there. Pottery Barn execs could easily take a page from a brand like ShopStyle.com— a shopping website that allows users to put together fashion “looks” and post them to a community, enabling other users to comment, discuss, and critique. 

This model would mimic HGTV’s “Rate My Space” project, where users could upload photos of their own homes, rooms, and implement the style tips they find on Pottery Barn’s site right there on the page. Pottery Barn would increase sales by encouraging users to buy that “key piece” after they’ve seen it in their virtual home, and have had input from other members of the community. 

In addition to this, users could be notified of upcoming sales before other email subscribers, and would also have the ability to network with other local designers and planers in their area. Pottery Barn could also feature local designers in members’ areas, providing them with an opportunity to connect with new talent, revitalize a portion of the economy, and incorporate personal pieces into a potentially “commercial” home. 

Pottery Barn already has much of the information and exclusive content on their site– they just need the drive. By enabling a two-way conversation by utilizing the necessary communication tools they can easily create a thriving and successful community that enriches the user’s experience, and, provides a great resource for people looking to get advice on what color they should pain their bathroom. 

Heck, who knows– maybe they’d give Martha Stewart’s community a run for their money.


2 comments so far

  1. Jeana on

    I came upon your post while doing research for a new blog dedicated to….Pottery Barn. Nice to know others are obsessed too. I agree that someplace for real people to share ideas and thoughts is needed.

  2. Melissa Daniels on

    Hi Jeana,
    Nice! Yeah, they’re really missing out on tapping into a fiercely targeted audience. We’re already a niche market, so they should really capitalize on it by creating a community. They’re halfway there. 🙂


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