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Sears exec: Mobile is centerpiece of buy-online-pickup-in-store initiative

Sears Holdings Corp. is letting consumers buy online and pickup in-store via various mobile platforms, a key element of its strategy to drive sales by connecting its bricks-and-mortar stores to the digital world.

The retail giant’s mobile properties include commerce-enabled mobile Web sites, as well as Sears2Go, Kmart2Go and MyGofer2Go applications for Apple’s iPhone, iPad and iPod touch, Google’s Android and Research In Motion’s BlackBerry.

“Our buy-online-pickup-in-store initiative is based on how we see the integration of mobile, online and in-store technologies,” said Imran Jooma, senior vice president and president of ecommerce at Sears Holdings Corp., Hoffman Estates, IL. “We’ve been doing buy online and pickup in-store since 2001, and this year we will likely serve our 10 millionth customer.

“The feature has evolved over time as we’ve listened to consumer feedback and the latest is that it can be accessed via mobile phones,” he said. “It doesn’t matter which platform your mobile device is on, you can place an order using your mobile device and pickup in-store.”

This past holiday season, Sears used multiple mobile channels, including enhancing print circulars with QR codes, to enhance its multichannel holiday marketing strategy and drive sales (see story).

Sears, Kmart, MyGofer on mobile
MyGofer and MyGofer2Go are platforms through which consumers can buy via a mobile device or PC and pickup at a Sears or Kmart store.

Consumers can pay online or via mobile using any major credit or debit card. Sears also offers PayPal payment options.

In the case of Sears2Go, consumers can checkout on their mobile devices, get a confirmation email, take it to the store and scan it in to get their items.

Sears has issued a guarantee that for all buy-online-pickup-in-store orders, the retailer will get consumers in and out of the store in five minutes. If it takes longer, they get a $5 coupon.

In addition, if consumers who have placed an order via their mobile device text the retailer when they are in the parking lot of a Sears or Kmart, employees will bring the product out to them.

“Imagine it’s a cold winter day, you have kids in the car and you don’t want to get out,” Mr. Jooma said. “You can send us a text message and we’ll bring your order out to you—curbside pickup as an added convenience.”

Another feature Sears offers is letting someone else picking up the items on a consumer’s behalf.

In some markets, consumers can even place an order on their mobile devices and have it delivered directly to their home.

“All of these different features are designed to give you choice and convenience,” Mr. Jooma said. “We recognize consumers have very busy lives and don’t always have enough time to run errands.

“We’ve taken buy-onlilne-pickup-in-store a step further—in select geographies, we will also do a home delivery for you,” he said. “You can place an order and schedule a delivery, which happens multiple times per day—we will bring the order to your house.”

The MyGofer2Go app lets consumers scan items using their mobile devices

MyGofer also does consolidation of orders for items found at Kmart, Sears and any other store consumers choose. The retailer consolidates all of the items free of charge.

Consumers then designate what is most convenient, such as picking it up at a Kmart location.

“We provide that service free of charge,” Mr. Jooma said.

Sears is using email and social media to drive awareness. For example it is marketing the MyGofer service on social networking sites such as

Sears and Kmart also have their own rewards programs, and they are promoting MyGofer to their loyal customers that are subscribers.

During the holidays, Sears and Kmart ran television advertising to promote buy-online-pickup-in-store powered by MyGofer.

“These are obviously very new services to us, and we are evolving these services as we hear back from customers,” Mr. Jooma said. “It is all about customer choice and convenience.”

Final Take