In one of the loudest endorsements of cross channel retailing to date, Sears Holdings Corp. announced plans last week to unify the multi-channel services of its Kmart and Sears businesses under the ShopYourWay brand. Driven by positive customer feedback on the choice of products and the various ways to purchase, ShopYourWay is designed to revolve around the lives of customers, according to Richard Gerstein, Sears Holdings Corporation’s senior VP of Marketing.
“We have had some of these best-in-class shopping channels in place since last year, but we haven’t brought them all to the customer in this holistic integrated manner before, so there are some new technologies that have recently been launched as a dimension of ShopYourWay, but the big idea here is taking things to the customer and saying here are all the different ways…of all the different retailers, Sears has the most channels for you to come out and really get what you want, when you want and how you want,” says Gerstein.
ShopYourWay is designed to provide the best of what Sears and Kmart offer – great prices everyday and one of the largest assortment of brands, products and services of any store online or offline through Sears.com and Kmart.com,Sears2go, Web to Store, Store to Web, 1-800-MYSEARS and in-store visits. Its expanded selection of jewelry, apparel, electronics, tools, shoes and power lawn & garden equipment are now always available on Sears.com or Kmart.com.
“What is new for customers is seeing all these channels alongside each other so we’ve visually simplified it by creating an icon for each different channel,” says Gerstein. “We want to educate the customers on what those mean and over time, they’ll see those and come to know they’ve got a lot of different options for convenience and price check.”
Both Sears and Kmart customers can now experience these multi-channel purchase opportunities in stores and online. As more and more new multi-channel capabilities are made available, the ShopYourWay banner has been designed to help identify the many choices for Sears and Kmart customers.
To spread the word about ShopYourWay, Sears will infiltrate the traditional media with print, television and circular advertising. Sears will also spread the news at the point of sale. “When customers first enter stores they will see visual merchandising at the door to inform them that there are new things they should know about to make sure this isn’t a wasted shopping trip,” says Tom Aiello, spokesperson for Sears Holdings. “If you don’t find the item on the shelf, we have in-store kiosks, which give an expanded assortment of options. If that item should have been in stock and wasn’t, we can ship it for free.”
Web of Growth
The Web initiatives are designed to help Sears and Kmart shoppers find whatever they want, wherever and whenever they want it. Sears Holdings Corp.’s online platform was recently named by e-tailing group as the top Web site in their e-commerce gauge survey. Sears.com soared to number one in their survey of online users with a total score of 88.25 out of 100, up 21%from last year, the largest increase of any online retailer.
Sears and Kmart offer much more convenience to customers. Online personal shoppers provide a one on one experience. Customers can chat with someone to find an item via phone or email with a Sears representative to find an item. Virtual models help create the in-store experience and personalize it using merchandise by virtually trying on items. This ensures the right style, fit, print before purchase. Shoppers can even assemble an outfit.
In addition, Sears and Kmart also offer their customers flexible financing options, a price match policy and access to credit and layaway options. Sears and Kmart customers can also take advantage of free shipping and e-gift cards. Aiello says these options are important to continually listen to customers and improve services.
Aiello adds that the click to curb trend has been budding at Sears. The Web to store shopping was popular over the holidays,and still noticeably increasing. “Shoppers are smart enough to know that they don’t always need to go in-store for these deals,” he says. “They can go online to make the purchase, beat the line, and at their convenience go to the store and within five minutes it will be loaded into the car.”
Also demonstrating a rapid growth is the Sears2go mobile shopping channel, according to Aiello, as customers are ordering from Sears2go via their mobile device and then picking up in-store as a convenience. “We’re definitely seeing that cross channel shopping on the rise,” says Aiello. “People like to do their shopping research inherently on digital formats and end up going into the store many times to make that final purchase.”
“We view ShopYourWay as a starting point,” says Aiello. “We give people the opportunity to carry on a conversation about what they think of the offerings. As we increase the volume for the ShopYourWay message, eventually getting to larger and wide reach media vehicles, we want to do that with the knowledge of some really strong customer feedback.”