Sears is getting in on the local deals craze, albeit a bit late. The retail giant has launched a pair of new sites that highlight deals and discounts on merchandise at an Internet user’s nearest Sears or Kmart outlet.
The digital ads featured on searslocalad.com and kmartlocalad.com provide product descriptions and pricing, and allow users to check whether items are currently in stock. Customers can also browse the ads by category and create and share shopping lists by email. Plus, they can print or send them to their mobile phone for in-store shopping.
Members of Sears’ “Shop Your Way” rewards program will be able to preview upcoming sale items on the sites and will eventually be able to collect rewards points by using the digital ads. In addition to product descriptions, Sears plans to add ratings and reviews to sale items on the sites.
Among the hundreds of discounted products offered at launch were a Kenmore Elite 30-inch oven, priced at $2071.99; a Samsung 3D Blu-ray Disc player for $149.99; the entire stock of sleepwear for $9 to $27; and a DieHard auto battery selling for $84.99. The deals are not exclusive to the Web, however. They are the same offers that customers would find walking into their local Sears and Kmart stores.
“The new digital local ads allow us to customize promotional offers to local communities so we can better service our customers, while saving them time and money,” said Dave Friedman, senior vice president and president of marketing at Sears Holdings, in announcing the new Web marketing effort.
If Sears seems behind the curve in offering local deals online, it shouldn’t come as a big surprise.
A recent survey found that big retailers have been slow in adopting cross-channel marketing strategies. Just 12%, for example, had the capability to access a customer's pending Web order in-store. And only about half are providing tailored recommendations to consumers.