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Kmart, Sears prep for holiday shopping with mobile POS, in-store tablet initiatives

Kmart and Sears are arming store associates with both mobile point-of-sale devices and tablets to help prepare for the flood of in-store holiday shopping.

Kmart and Sears are among several mass merchants viewing mobile POS as a way to tackle long in-store lines. Additionally, store associates will be equipped with tablets to help consumers navigate the in-store experience.

“We are focused on becoming the leader in integrated retail and a key component of that is the continued pursuit of innovation for our customers and creating the best possible shopping experience, regardless of how customers choose to shop with us,” said Rafeh Masood, vice president of integrated retail solutions and technology at Sears Holdings, Hoffman Estates, IL.

“With these new mobile POS devices we will continue to make shopping easier and give our customers more confidence in their purchasing decision,” he said. “The technology will also allow us to speed up the checkout process for customers during the busy shopping season.”

Sears and Kmart are wholly owned subsidiaries of Sears Holdings Corp.

Mobile check-out
This holiday, 360 Sears Holdings stores now include mobile POS, which allows employees to check-out in-store customers though either an iPad or iPod touch device.

With the mobile POS system, Sears and Kmart shoppers can check-out through their mobile device instead of standing in-line.

Consumers can then choose to have a receipt either printed or emailed to them.

In addition to POS, Kmart and Sears are also equipping sales associates with tablets to help consumers shop in 500 stores. The tablets will include an application that will help the sales associates sell and upsell merchandise.

For instance, the app will let associates check product inventory, sell in-store and online items, access product information and watch videos.

The mobile POS system in action

Holiday rush
Kmart and Sears are the latest in a string of mobile POS news as retailers gear up for holiday shopping.

For instance, Finish Line recently rolled out mobile POS to its employees to help speed up the check-out process in 638 stores (see story).

Additionally, JCPenney announced earlier this year that it would be replacing cash registers with self-check-out tools by 2013 (see story).

Other retailers that have recently embraced mobile POS include Eastern Mountain Sports, Sephora and Nordstrom.

Not only does mobile POS help retailers cut down the check-out process, it can also help develop stronger one-on-one relationships with consumers. For example, by using tablets in-store, Kmart and Sears are able to help solve shoppers’ pain points and potentially bolster loyalty program sign-ups.

As mobile commerce continues to gain traction, giving consumers as many options as possible on how they want to pay is a smart initiative for Kmart and Sears.

“Customers want to shop on their terms – anytime, anywhere and in any way they choose,” Mr. Masood said.

“Using mobile technology we are seamlessly connecting shopping channels by blurring the boundaries between offline and online commerce,” he said. “We’re using mobile to add convenience, customization and rewards to the in-store shopping experience.”

Final Take
Lauren Johnson is associate reporter on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York