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Sears misses out on loyalty-building opportunity with Kardashian holiday campaign

Sears has been actively building up its Shop Your Way loyalty program into a multichannel program over the past few years, but it seems to have missed the mark by not including a mobile call-to-action in its “12 Days of Kardashian Christmas” campaign.

As the 12 days before Dec. 25 have passed, Sears had countless opportunities to engrave its mobile application’s image into millennials’ minds, along with the clothes and accessories of its exclusive Kardashian Kollection in a new video advertising campaign featuring the celebrity sisters. Yet, the Kardashian videos featured only a hashtag for Sears’ Twitter page and a link to its Web site, so Sears misses out on educating consumers on the benefits of its mobile loyalty program.

“Mobile engagement is extremely important for any retailer that wants to attract millennials these days,” said Wilson Kerr, vice president of business development and sales at Unbound Commerce, Boston. “Mobile commerce offers the here-and-now ability for large retailers like Sears to convert interest tied to rich content into converted sales that can be tracked to a specific campaign.

“For a line like the Kardashians’ licensed products, mobile offers a powerful way to bridge the gap between reality television content like video and a consumer’s ability to purchase goods that are tied to that content,” he said. “For a large retailer like Sears to be missing these obvious chances to break down the silos between purchasing behavior and content tied to personalities they have a professional engagement with — the TV show — is a big miss.

“Sears could try things like linking specials to the exact time that a specific show is airing, so content can be used to drive sales for a specific product.”

Mr. Kerr is not affiliated with Sears. He spoke based on his expertise on the topic.

Tis the season
The “12 Days of Kardashian Christmas” campaign is a series of short videos that feature the Kardashian sisters showing off 12 of their new products from the new Kardashian collection at Sears. Each day leading up to Christmas, Sears has been posting a video to its YouTube page that features one of the sisters.

At the end of the video, the Twitter hashtag #xmaskkstyle flashes across the screen.

On the desktop version of the YouTube video, a link at the bottom of the page links consumers to Sears’ Web site where they can shop the item. However, there is no mobile-related call-to-action when consumers are viewing the ad from YouTube’s mobile site or app.

Sears has been losing ground over the past few years, and mobile is playing a key role in rebuilding the brand. According to Reuters, Sears has shuttered about 300 United States stores since 2010 and expects to close more. 


Sears’ recent ad campaigns looked to leverage mobile and YouTube videos and give the retailer a lift.

Yet it dropped the ball by not mentioning its mobile app or mobile site on its ad campaign that counts down the 12 days of Christmas with Kardashian sisters, Khloe and Kourtney.

If Sears is trying to recoup its losses, it would make sense to feature its app and mobile devices on ads, especially ones which target the Kardashians’ fans, who are potential Sears’ consumers.

According to Brian Hanover, spokesman at Sears, Hoffman Estates, IL, the retailer specifically intended the “12 Days of Kardashian Christmas” videos to focus on favorite looks and shopping tips. 

“What’s great – and intentional – about the Kardashian Kollection video series from a mobile perspective is that they are the perfect size for quick mobile and social sharing, especially at this time of the year when everyone is on the go, looking for those last-minute holiday gift ideas,” Mr. Hanover said. “Mobile is at the core of our integrated retailing strategy, which you can see come to life in the clever ‘Parking Lot’ spot.”

The Kardashian Kollection campaign is significantly differently from another one of Sears’ recent campaigns — Parking Lot — that heavily promotes mobile.

While the “12 Days” videos feature the sisters showing and talking about a Kardashian Kollection garment or accessory, Sears’ “Parking Lot” TV advertisement shows two young women who hurriedly rush through the store on their way to see a movie, only to be distracted by Kardashian garments, which they stop to try on.

The “Parking Lot” video shows a mobile device loaded with Sears’ Shop Your Way app.

A screenshot from Sears “Parking Lot” video onYouTube

Strategize shopping

Sears’ holiday strategy includes the first-ever Shop Your Way holiday bonus offer, suggesting that Sears is aware that it needs to engage last-minute shoppers on multiple platforms.

Additionally, the Shop Your Way YouTube videos feature images of the app shown on mobile devices, which target app users and encourage downloads.

During the holiday season, Sears Shop Your Way members could receive up to 10 percent back in points on purchases made with a Sears card or three percent back in points when using any other form of payment.

Given that the days right before Christmas tend to draw big sales from retailers, Sears would logically benefit from educating consumers about how the retailer’s loyalty program works across any medium.

Despite the lack of mobile in the ad, Sears has promoted its Shop Your Way program in other significant ways this year.

For example, Sears ramped up its Shop Your Way loyalty membership program in October with deals and mobile apps updates, leading into the holidays (see story).

Sears also targeted New York consumers in May with a straightforward mobile advertising campaign to drive in-store and online traffic (see story).

“The importance of utilizing and optimizing the mobile channel at Christmas is hugely important,” said Sian Rowlands, research analyst at Juniper Research, Hampshire, Britain. “[Given that] the number of people shopping via mobile on Black Friday/Cyber Monday soared – retailers which don’t have mobile apps or sites are going to lose out on traffic and, more importantly, repeat revenues.

“Delivering more relevant adverts to shoppers is an important way retailers can increase conversions and, therefore, revenues,” she said.

I would imagine that Sears didn’t mention its mobile site or app in its advertising campaign with the Kardashians given that we are now transitioning to a time when mobile users – particularly millennials – assume that major brands and retailers already have an app – mentioning it may have come across as ‘stating the obvious’ to its target audience.”

Final Take
Kari Jensen is staff writer at Mobile Commerce Daily, New York