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Sears keynote: 2012 will be mobile’s tipping point

January 20, 2012

NEW YORK – A Sears executive at the Mobile FirstLook: Strategy 2012 conference yesterday said seven out of 10 smartphone owners have either shopped or browsed on their mobile device, proving that mobile is an opportunity for retailers to drive sales.

During the “Sears: How the mobile pioneer will push the envelope in 2012” closing keynote, the executive spoke about where mobile is heading this year. Mobile is changing constantly and marketing strategies need to adapt to that.

“Customers want the best of both worlds,” said Imran Jooma, president of ecommerce at Sears.

“They want all the pluses you get out of digital and the ability to socialize,” he said. “They also want to see the best of the physical world – the ability to touch.

“That’s what mass merchants and retailers need to do – bring those two things together.”

Mobile FirstLook: Strategy 2012 was a presentation of Napean, parent to Mobile Marketer and Mobile Commerce Daily.

Changing world
Mobile is changing and marketers and retailers need to embrace technology.

“The mobile device serves as a glue to bring in the physical and digital world together,” Mr. Jooma said. “We must elevate the experience.”

According to Mr. Jooma, it is important to create and seamless and effortless experience for consumers.

Sears lets consumers order and purchase items through its mobile site and applications and lets them choose to either get it delivered to their home or pick it up in-store.

“Consumers are looking for instant gratification and are savvy enough to buy online and pick up in-store,” Mr. Jooma said. “At Sears we have roughly around 700-plus stores where there’s a designated parking spot and we can bring the product to you.

There’s also a designated pick-up center where you can pick up the product if you choose to go in-store,” he said.

Additionally, the company has deployed iPads and iPod touches to 450 of its stores.

“This helps enhance relationship between customers and associates,” Mr. Jooma said.

The iPad and iPod touch deployment helps provide timely access to information, inventory, product information and training.

It also improves customer service, facilitates associate training and provides free Wi-Fi for consumers,” Mr. Jooma said.

“Consumers can see reviews, product descriptions and videos,” he said. “Consumers feel good about buying from the physical stores – they don’t have to do a lot of research.”

It is also important that brands and marketers make shopping convenient.

“Sears uses mobile apps to blend the physical and virtual spaces that allow consumers to shop anywhere and anytime,” Mr. Jooma said.  “It’s also important to provide consumers with quick access to information.

“With QR codes, customers have yet another way to gather information they are seeking – the key is to not just have the QR codes, but give them a reason to use it.”

Additionally, social is an important aspect to mobile.

“Create apps that are social – give people a reason to share,” Mr. Jooma said. “Successful mobile apps integrate with social networks and allow customers and brands to share and engage more than ever before.

“Location-based services enables personalized and compelling offers,” he said. “Customers want immediate information and recommendations about nearby offers. “

It is also important to create and maintain customer loyalty.

“You have to tie your rewards with your mobile app,” Mr. Jooma said.

According to the executive mobile is at the epicenter of moving Sears from a multichannel retailer to an integrated retailer.

“Our customers want to shop anywhere,” Mr. Jooma said.

According to Mr. Jooma, it is important to optimize the mobile experience – one size does not fit all for mobile.

Marketers and brands need to offer unique experience for their brand and integrate social and personalize.

“You also need to focus on the core functionalities, focus on browse, search and checkout,” Mr. Jooma said. “At the end of the day the mobile customer doesn’t always have time and they want to go to point A and point B.

“You have to be fast and accessible,” he said. “And definitely keep it simple.”

Final Take
Imran Jooma, president of ecommerce at Sears 

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Rimma Kats is associate editor on Mobile Commerce Daily and Mobile Marketer. Reach her at

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