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Where shopping revolves around you

. slim

Where shopping revolves around you

What is “multi-channel?”

At Sears, it means connecting everything we offer across our different formats and platforms (including our stores, website, call centers, and so on) to give our customers the service, selection, and value they want no matter where or how they want it all. It doesn’t matter if she’s researching and comparing online, he’s purchasing something through sears2go on his mobile device, or they're asking an agent for expert advice over the phone – each of these is part of our multi-channel world.

Since joining the Multi-channel team at Sears Holdings, I’ve learned a few things:

  • Sears really cares about this part of our customer’s lives and our own business. Last year, this department didn’t even exist. Today, there stands a growing group of ambitious minds whose job—all day and every day—is to think about how we can continue building (and delivering) a more vast and compelling multi-channel customer experience. We really see this as a critical part of our overall strategy.

  • Sears is actually pretty darn good at this compared to other companies. Taking a look around, few retailers can own the “Shop Your Way” promise like we do (it is our slogan, after all). Our ultimate goal is to bring customers Anything, Anywhere, Anytime, Any way they want. For most items you purchase online, you can pick them up the same day for free at any Sears store, and they will be ready in 5 minutes once you get there – guaranteed. (Otherwise we’ll give ya something for your trouble… who can spare 5 minutes these days?) You can even arrange to have someone else pick it up for you. Our Personal Shopper program will help locate any product you can’t find on Sears.com even if it’s not an item Sears sells (see Lori’s post “Shopping above and beyond” for the scoop on Personal Shoppers). And this is just the tip of the iceberg, both in terms of what we can do today and what we want to deliver tomorrow. Crazy? Or crazy that no one else does all this?

  • A lot of people don’t know what Sears offers. And this is tough. How do we get everyone to know about and remember the convenience and choice we want to bring into their lives? How do we get people to try it out? And then keep trying it? Perhaps most importantly, how do we get people to tell us what they like and don't like about our multi-channel programs in a way where it doesn’t get lost in the noise? I suppose that’s a small part of what this is for.

I hope to exchange thoughts and ideas with everyone on multi-channel retailing – call it what you will: cross-channel, store pick-up, “click and mortar,” or simply delivering a great customer experience.

Change it or Leave

. andrew

Change it or Leave

Read this first

In a recent blog posting, Dustin Curtis took a UX Architect from AA.com to task. Give it a quick look. It made me think about and question how people approach UX at a large organization.

Where I’m coming from

I can completely relate to Mr. X’s situation. I, too, work for a large bureaucratic organization that often has trouble getting out of its own path to success. On the other hand, I also genuinely feel that you make your own opportunities and have the ability to change the situation.

When I first joined the UX team at Sears, we were considered a bottleneck in the process – part of the bureaucracy. Our team felt that we were understaffed and under appreciated. That mindset had to change in order for us to evolve. By making that shift in thinking – and proving ourselves via initiatives large and small – we changed perceptions throughout the company.

We demonstrated the impact that user experience had on small engagements such as Share This. We also tackled enormous efforts like making all of our core commerce-enabled sites liquid in a 57-day span. Through these efforts, we proved UX could be a force for change. We now partner with the Product and IT teams to define the future of the customer experience for Sears.com, Kmart.com, Craftsman.com and Kenmore.com. We are no longer passengers, we’re drivers.

What to do

I guess what I’m getting at is that you can either sit there and wish you belonged to a small, nimble, get-it-done type of team, or you can start acting like one and change your approach. One thing that works here at Sears is showing how you can make more money – it’s actually one of our three tenets. So everything we do is tied to revenue in some way – directly through conversion or indirectly through customer satisfaction.

I think everyone can be a force for change, it just depends on if you want to put in the effort. I recommend to Mr. X that he challenge himself and his co-workers to step it up. Spend time after work brainstorming ways to improve process, quality of the work and relationships with other parts of the org to streamline approvals.

And stop whining! If you don’t like the approach, do something about it or head for the door.

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Visual browsing - the future of shopping?

. Daniel C

Visual browsing - the future of shopping?

There is an old saying that everyone's familiar with, "A picture’s worth a thousand words," and like most people I believe it is true. We are working hard to improve our online product at Sears, Kmart and MyGofer to include a cutting edge visual shopping experience. You will no longer need to sift through page upon page of search results, or wander around a store looking for that iPod you saw on TV last night. Today, you can enter the virtual aisles of Sears and browse to your hearts content. You will be able to click on items and see items that are closely related to them. The more you click the smarter the experience gets!

As customers use visual browsing, we are learning more and more about shopping patterns, and ways to improve the experience. We are constantly looking at ways to enhance this virtual browser, from adding more products and more relevant products to the ability to filter products. It's simply not enough to have users click around the interface, they need to find what they are looking for when they shop. As a multi-channel retailer, we need to leverage what is happening online, peek into what happens in stores, and even get influences from our printed circulars. In the end, this is simply a way to allow customers to "Shop Your Way".

If you want to take a look, head over to our virtual aisles today!

Sears is getting personal

. Rob Harles

Sears is getting personal

We recently launched MySears and MyKmart to connect with our customers and to start the dialogue flowing. These two welcoming communities feature discussion forums, ideas, product reviews and member profiles – speaking of members, we now have more than 250,000 registered names and that number grows every day.

People who visit our sites can ask product questions, request product recommendations, raise service concerns and provide their own suggestions and advice. Members also get access to special offers and coupons as a thank you for their participation in the communities.

The backbone

OpenID technology helps power MySears and MyKmart and allows visitors to use a single login for all their online interactions. They can even log in using their existing IDs and passwords from websites such as Facebook, Yahoo! and Google. Moving forward, we will continue to leverage innovative technology and customers will be able to share photos, connect with friends, read reviews, etc., across many social platforms.

Soon, we’ll launch a reputation and rewards program that gives customers the opportunity to increase their status, and online recognition, based on their overall activity in the community. The people who move up the status ladder will receive extra perks. Stay tuned for more details.


And while this program and OpenID are wonderful tools that make it easier and more fun for our customers to connect with us and each other, our vision for these communities extends far beyond promotions and technology. We want customers to constantly be in contact with us, to share their thoughts and feelings and let us know what’s working and what isn’t. The more we converse, the more we can reshape their online retail experience for the better. And that leads to stronger, longer relationships.

Join us. Visit www.MySears.com or www.MyKmart.com. It’s simple. And after you register, tell us what you think about our sites in the comments section, below. We want to hear from you, your friends and your families.

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Craftsman.com Retooled

. Ryan Ostrom

Craftsman.com Retooled

When we re-launched craftsman.com, we did so to improve our online business and further reinforce our iconic brand. And while these factors affected our strategy, the one thing that most informed all of our decisions and energized us was improving the user experience. To do so, we looked at the site through the eyes of our customers.

Craftsman loyalists are a passionate crew, and even new customers know our name and associate it with quality. Ask them why they believe in Craftsman and you may get dozens of different answers. But what it ultimately comes down to is that they trust us. Our mission was to carry that feeling of trust over to the site.

We talked to our customers to better understand what would make craftsman.com more intuitive and easy to use. Based on that feedback and our market insights, we made several improvements. Namely, we enabled eCommerce on the site. Customers can now purchase products directly from craftsman.com instead of being re-directed to sears.com.

All access

On top of that, we made the site more useful and fun. That started with welcoming customers into the “Garage of Knowledge” – a 360-degree visual and content experience. Now customers can find the right tool by name and category (lawn & garden and storage & garage) and by project – thanks to our collaboration with managemyhome.com.

Plus, we linked customers to the Craftsman Community – where they can find the comprehensive product information, tips, techniques and reviews that they crave. The Community also features our social media outreach – including our youtube and Facebook presence. Plus, it encourages people to join the Craftsman Club.

Club Members get exclusive product sneak peeks and insights. Members are also notified about special promotions. After all, we want customers to get the job done efficiently and with great confidence. Because we know that reinforces a sense of pride.

And while we are proud of the improved UX on craftsman.com, we know that we have to continue to evolve. The more that customers use the site, and the more feedback we get, the better. In fact, I invite you to visit craftsman.com, join the Craftsman Club and get back to us with your recommendations. We’re open to all suggestions and strive to be as responsive as possible. That’s another way we build trust.

Personal Shopper

. Lori Crozier

Personal Shopper

Shopping above and beyond

We believe that every one of our customers deserves a Personal Shopper who will work tirelessly to find anything she needs. And we mean anything. We have an unmatched assortment of products and suppliers to deliver on this promise.

Personal Shopper is available at sears.com, sears2go.com (mobile) kmart.com, mygofer.com and soon at craftsman.com. It is a service that connects customers who have product requests with our skilled agents via phone, e-mail or chat. This one-on-one conversation is the start of a one-of-a-kind user experience.

When someone contacts us looking for a power drill or pool toys, an HDTV or a hot new pair of shoes, we’ll gladly take up the challenge. And with more than 3,000 stores and web super-warehouses around the country, we’ll likely have the exact thing she wants.

Picture this

One of our customers turned to us after putting in a lot of legwork trying to find her digital camera of choice. Frustrated that multiple stores didn’t carry it, she let Personal Shopper do the work for her. We found the camera at what she described as a “better buy” and shipped it to her. On top of that, we scored points for being “very nice.”

Similar stories of online customer satisfaction have been repeated countless times – as we have shopped for everything from rear wheel replacements for Craftsman mowers to polka dot sun caps.

That’s the spirit

If our customers have a need, they don’t need to think about anybody else. With Personal Shopper, that commitment extends to our network of suppliers. We’ll turn to these suppliers to find merchandise in ever category – electronics, fashions, bedding, barbecue grills and more – in order to satisfy urgent requests. Often via same or next-day shipping.

Personal Shopper is the epitome of a Sears user experience: personalized, performance-driven and made to fulfill customers’ needs. Talk to, e-mail or chat with us at sears.com/personalshopper.

Go Dutch with Give Together!

. Becky Cikoch

Go Dutch with Give Together!

Going dutch. While the term is usually associate with first dates or dinners with co-workers, Give Together takes the notion of everyone for themselves and gives it a 180 everybody working as one.

Yes, it’s the same basic concept – but with much better results (in my opinion). Instead of just “covering the check,” Give Together lets you choose a recipient and the amount you want to spend on them. After that, you can invite your friends to help chip in until you’ve reached your goal. I think it’s a pretty cool idea. Why?

1. Bigger gifts: Chances are, the more people you have, the bigger the gift you can give. And who doesn’t like that?

2. Flexibility: You “cash out” your pooled contributions as a gift card, so your giftee can choose from a ton of stuff at Sears, Kmart and Lands’ End – online or in-store.

3. No pressure: Everyone contributes what they can, not what they have to. So no matter how much you throw in, it’s all good.

When everything’s set up, you’ll see a simple “Control Panel” that lets you keep track of who has given what, how close you are to your goal and even the ability to send reminders or add more people (the more the merrier, I always say). And when the big day comes, you’ll be holding a gift card with the recipient’s name on it.

Well, there you have it: Give Together in a nutshell. If you’re into group gifting, you can check it out here. If not, maybe you could pass this on to a friend who is. Either way, I’d love to hear your thoughts. Feel free to leave me a comment, drop me an email or pass this on to your friends. Because like Give Together, how much you choose to contribute to this post is totally up to you.

Thanks for reading and we'll talk again soon.

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