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Sears mobile offerings see increased usage during holiday season

Sears Holdings Corp. said that during the Black Friday weekend it saw a rise in mobile shoppers.

While the retail giant is not releasing official numbers for a few months, it did say that its multichannel offerings saw a significant increase in usage over last year. Sears currently has a Sears2go application and mobile site.

“Mobile gives people capability and more convenience,” said Tom Aiello, a spokesman for Sears Holdings, Hoffman Estates, IL. “We saw the app and mobile site generate the pickup of mobile commerce.”

Mr. Aiello said that a lot of spikes in mobile shopping during the Black Friday weekend came from consumers out-and-about either, at a competitor or actually in a Sears location.

Sears said consumers were using Sears2go for price checking at a competitor’s retail location or to purchase items they could not find at other stores.

Sears is one of the nation’s largest retailers, with approximately 3,900 full-line and specialty retail stores in the United States and Canada.

Embracing mobile commerce
This is the first holiday shopping period where Sears had its ShopYourWay offerings in full swing with its entire multichannel offerings tied together.

Last year Sears launched its mobile commerce site (see story).

“We had ShopYourWay fully online for customers,” Mr. Aiello said. “That’s where we tied together Web shopping, in-store shopping and mobile commerce as a seamless experience for customers, complete with personal shoppers.”

At any point in the shopping process, consumers can contact shopping assistants via phone, chat or email.

Mr. Aiello said that Sears offers consumers the opportunity to shop via the PC or mobile Web and then go right into a retail location and pick up the ordered item after presenting a receipt.

According to Sears, shopping overall has increased compared to last year.

Mr. Aiello said that there has been a good uptake in all metrics, especially in the usage and capabilities of mobile commerce. He said it was one of the more promising, bigger trends.

Sears said its saw high mobile commerce spikes in the mornings when its stores first opened and deals were put up on the Web site.

“People were taking advantage of the convenience of reaching over and grabbing their mobile phones and not putting the energy into going to their PC,” Mr. Aiello said.

Mr. Aiello said that Sears is committed to embracing new technology and sees mobile as an important channel to reach consumers. The retailer is constantly adding choices and features to its mobile commerce platform.

Last holiday season, Mr. Aiello said that the mobile commerce technology was new and there was less consumer adoption, but now he said it is easier for consumers to use and adapt to.

Based on this year, Mr. Aiello said that next year, as more consumers become more tech-savvy, there will be an even higher percentage of consumers engaging in mobile commerce.

“We’re on the cutting edge of a lot of technology, we’re there waiting for the customers to get there,” Mr. Aiello said. “A key to success in mobile commerce is trial and error and staying focused on the customer.

“With a customer focus we will continue to innovate going into next holiday season,” he said.