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Sears’ app-supported vehicle pickup adds more optionsBy
The new service promises to enable members of the app to pick up, return or exchange Sears products from their car in five minutes or less. The company is developing more convenient options in order to fit in more readily with its customers’ busy lives.
“In-Vehicle Pickup, Return and Exchange in Five is an industry-first on this scale and yet another example of how Sears and Shop Your Way constantly innovate to connect the ways our members shop,” said Leena Munjal, senior vice president of customer experience and integrated retail at Sears Holdings. “We will continue to find new ways to integrate in-store and online shopping by enhancing our mobile and online technologies and creating new conveniences for our Shop Your Way members and customers.”
Sears claims its In-Vehicle Pickup option has been a popular service since its launch early this year.
To access the service, guests must go to sears.com and visit the customer service link before selecting “Returns & Exchanges” and following directions to identify the product. If a customer would like to exchange an item, Sears will send a confirmation email when a replacement is available to be retrieved.
Once the customer is ready to pick up their items, they may head to their local Sears store and park in spots designated for In-Vehicle Pickup. On the Shop Your Way app, they must use the Shop-In feature to inform the store of their arrival.
The feature then displays a timer, and a Sears employee is guaranteed to arrive to the guest’s car and complete the exchange or return process in five minutes or less.
“Anything a retailer can do to make their shopping experience better will further extend their loyalty, advocacy and ultimately spending,” said Paul Alvarez, vice president of sales & business development at Atimi Software.
With colder weather approaching, Sears is hoping to maximize customer convenience and satisfaction by allowing them to remain in their cars and minimize time spent walking into the bricks-and-mortar stores and waiting on lines.
“Our online and multi-channel sales grew 18 percent over the prior year in the second quarter and sales from our Shop Your Way members accounted for 73 percent of sales last quarter,” said Ms. Munjal. “We believe in building relationships with our members, not just transactions — introducing innovative services like In-Vehicle Pickup, Return and Exchange help us continue to achieve that goal.”
Enhancing the app
Sears is enhancing the Shop Your Way app to connect in-store and online shopping more readily. The app, which is also functional at Kmart stores, also features special deals, e-coupons, price comparisons and sweepstakes eligibility.
One possible caveat that the In-Vehicle Pickup may bring to the table is cutting down on customers’ in-store time. The option makes picking up specific products simple, but can also minimize chances of guests browsing in the store and making unexpected or impulse purchases.
“Often both experiences can compliment the other,” said Atimi Software’s Mr. Alvarez. “Of course, a well designed mobile shopping/browsing experience will also provide its fair share of opportunities to position and capture ‘impulse’ purchases.”
Sears believes that the new In-Vehicle Pickup features will continue to build brand loyalty among loyal customers. The In-Vehicle options will still be available on heavy traffic shopping days, such as Black Friday and the remainder of the holiday season.
“Our focus is on providing shopping convenience to our members — letting them shop with us wherever/however they choose,” said Ms. Munjal. “If they want to get in and out of the store quickly and hassle-free, then we want to make it as easy as possible. If they want to pick up their items and also browse the store to see what’s new, we want to make that experience seamless. It’s about doing what works for our members and giving them what they want.”
Alex Samuely is an editorial assistant on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York
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