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Sears sees double-digit mobile growth over Thanksgiving weekend

November 29, 2011

Sears customers embraced mobile over Thanksgiving to shop online and pick up in store

Sears customers used their mobile devices to shop and make purchases during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend and on Cyber Monday, delivering double digits gains for the retailer.

Mobile has been a major focus for Sears over the past year, with the retailer intent on building out its mobile offerings to provide a full set of features. Additions to Sears’ mobile strategy this year include giving customers more mobile payment options and adding QR codes to out-of-home ads so on-the-go consumers can easily purchase gift items. 

Sears also tweaked its mobile site a couple of months ago to improve performance, a move that paid off during the Thanksgiving weekend, when the retailer’s mobile site was one of the leaders in terms of customer satisfaction, according to Compuware Gomez.

Mobile Commerce Daily spoke with Michael Murray, chief marketing officer of online for Sears Holdings, Chicago, on the Monday back to work after the holiday weekend to discuss mobile’s strong performance and how the retailer is positioning itself to take advantage of the growth in mobile.

How well did mobile perform for Sears over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend?  
We continue to see double digit growth in the channel, which is exciting for us.

It is an exponential growth for us as we look at year over year. And that says to me, our customers and consumers, in general, are increasingly more confident and comfortable in this space.

The channel continues to be a strong and growing channel for us as we support our customers during this critical time for them.

More and more, our customers are finding mobile as a resource for them whether they are near a store or in store. Or they are using it as a navigation tool.

Also, more and more, we are seeing that customers’ expectations are that we are able to serve them in those channels. As we continue to make sure we are there, our customers are definitely using those channels as access points to our brands.

Did any mobile services or activities stand out in terms of consumer engagement during the holiday weekend?
We continue to see really strong performance in our buy online and pick up in-store solutions.

We are seeing a strong performance for this service in mobile. If you can, on your mobile device, be able to identify a product, select that product and go from wherever you are to buy it in-store – we are seeing that connection become stronger for us.

This is creating customer ease, specifically around Black Friday. What’s easier than being able to buy on Thursday and make that shopping experience faster and easier on Black Friday.

Is mobile better integrated into your mobile offerings than last year? Is this helping to boost sales?
I would say that. We have continued to focus throughout the year on making sure that mobile is a full and functioning experience, mostly because that is what our customers have said to us they want, that they are in this channel, so make sure you are available to us in a way that is fast, easy, convenient and complete.

Mobile is now fully a part of the mix. It is not a question of if, it is a question of how do we best take advantage of this channel to serve our customers and our members.

Our mobile solution is fully enabled and provides our customers every capability that we make available in a traditional online space. So, whether you are browsing for a product or looking for product pricing or wanting to be able to purchase a product inter app, those are features and functions available.

Everything that we offer to our customers in a traditional online space is available to that customer in an optimized mobile experience that’s fast, that is connected to everything else we are offering and makes it easy for the customer to navigate and find these values. We are pretty excited about that.

How has Sears enhanced the mobile experience for customers?
What’s different this year is how integrated mobile into our customer solutions like our People’s Pick program that allows customer to help us figure out what goes on sale.

It’s a live program out there right now. Customers hear it on the radio, they go to the Web site or a mobile app, where they can vote for what becomes the sale items online and in-store.

We integrated People’s Pick so that wherever the customer is, we are able to help them participate in that program and mobile has played a key role in that.

Also different this year is the ability to provide unique and privileged access to our ecoupon program via mobile. What we are doing with our local ad in providing customers and members access to upcoming deals and specials that they can get an early preview on is also different.

Final Take
Chantal Tode is associate editor on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York

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