Mobile Commerce Daily is now Retail Dive: Mobile Commerce! Click here to learn more!

Sears Canada builds mobile repertoire with iPhone, Android apps

The Sears Canada iPhone app

Sears Canada has rolled out iPhone and Android applications to bring together the in-store experience with Web shopping.

The goal of the new Sears Canada apps are to make shopping simpler for consumers by packaging the company’s digital components in one place. In addition to the new mobile apps, Sears Canada also has a mobile site.

“Technology continues to change the way that customers shop, research and communicate with brands,” said Sarah Trimble, director of interactive marketing and community at Sears Canada, Toronto.

“Sears wants to interact with customers the way they want to shop, and the launch of the mobile apps is putting more control in the hands of customers and delivering on new customer expectations of convenience, information and options,” she said.

“Customers have lots of choices on how they interact with retailers and Sears, with a long history of being multi-format, continues to keep up with customer preferences.”

Mobile multichannel
The Sears Canada apps give users exclusive mobile-only deals, which provides shoppers an incentive to buy from their handsets.

The department store claims that more than 80,000 products are available inside the apps. Consumers can read reviews, “like” items via Facebook and view photo galleries of items.

The apps also include a mobile bar code scanner that shoppers can use to scan QR codes in-store. The app also includes a weekly deals selection where consumers can view featured products.

To spread the word about the new apps, Sears Canada is promoting them on its Web site with a mobile bar code and SMS call-to-action that lets users directly download the apps via an app store.

Mobile efforts
Although many retailers have embraced apps, very few give users a full shopping experience that can be used in-store or online. By combining the two, Sears Canada is proving that mobile plays a big role in its digital strategy.

This is not the first app initiative from Sears Canada.

For the 2011 holiday season, the department store rolled out the Wish Book iPad app that let users browse the company’s catalog and create wish lists that could be shared via social media.

In the United States, Sears has also built a strong mobile presence and was named 2011’s mobile retailer of the year by Mobile Commerce Daily for focusing its efforts around customers versus technology (see story).

The Sears Canada mobile commerce initiatives include and optimized Web site and apps, which gives the company a wide net to target as many mobile users as possible.

“There is a big opportunity for mobile to enhance a customer relationship and make shopping more enjoyable so it is a very exciting time to be a retailer,” Ms. Trimble said.

“The technology and platforms are in place and now it is simply a matter of putting it all together,” she said.

“In 2012, mobile will help elevate the entire retail experience however, as the mobile landscape continues to develop, the most important thing will be to focus on delivering value to a customer.”

Final Take
Lauren Johnson is editorial assistant on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York