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Sears borrows from Pokemon Go for app-based in-store scavenger hunt

Sears is combining two big mobile trends – real-world scavenger hunts and in-store activations – in the new Find Max game, enabling shoppers to search for clues and unlock prizes using the retailer’s shopping application.

The game, which appears inside the Sears mobile shopping app, was developed with the makers of The Secret Life of Pets movie, bringing some of the film’s characters to the interactive experience. Find Max is part of a back-to-school push from Sears that also includes a series of digital videos and two new private-label lines.

“Mobile technology is more integrated into the shopping experience than ever before,” said Leena Munjal, senior vice president, customer experience and integrated retail for Sears Holdings.

“The Secret Life of Pets  game through the Sears app brings a fun, interactive experience to in-store shoppers, adding family fun to the back-to-school shopping experience,” she said. “The interactive game delights kids while parents check items off their back-to-school shopping lists.

“It also engages members by using QR codes throughout the store to unlock opportunities to enter a sweepstakes where they can win anywhere from $1 to $1,000 in Shop Your Way points.”

Real-world play
The remarkable success of Nintendo’s Pokemon Go game points to the potential of real-world app play for engaging consumers. Sears is hoping to recreate this excitement in its stores with Find Max.

To play the game, users launch the Sears app in-store and then search for clues, which are marked with a QR code and can be scanned to indicate they have been found.

Three different clues are hidden in stores and once all three have been found and the corresponding QR code scanned, the secret location of Max is revealed. Finding all the clues also unlocks opportunities for shoppers to enter sweepstakes, earn instant Shop Your Way points and other prizes.

Shoppers can text FINDMAX to 73277 to download or update the Sears app.

The retailer has also expanded its Roebuck & Co. line of blue jeans to boys and girls and introduced R1893, a women’s denim collection.

Back-to-school engagement
Sears is also leveraging digital videos to tie together its back-to-school push. A series of videos showcase Sears’ new fashion looks for girls, boys and teens. Two spots, Chat and Soccer Moments, are available on Sears’ YouTube channel.

Mobile is likely to play a big role in how shoppers engage with Sears during the back-to-school season as the retailer has built a wide array of useful mobile shopping tools. These include being able to use the app to load personalized digital coupons, In-Vehicle Pickup service, which allows parents to shop online or via their mobile phone anytime and have their items brought to their car when they arrive at the store.


Sears’ app users also get free shipping on orders placed while in-store when location services are enabled.

Research from companies including Retale, Deloitte and RetailMeNot has shown that consumers still plan to conduct much of their back-to-school shopping in stores this year – with mobile lending a helping hand when it comes to doing price comparisons or searching for last-minute coupon (see story).

“Sears continues to innovate and add unique experiences to the Sears app to provide members a useful, personalized experience on-the-go, anywhere, anytime,” Ms. Munjal said.

“The latest innovation and convenience offered via the Sears app is free in-store shipping – purchase an item in-store and it will ship to members for free (when location services are enabled) – a convenient perk for back-to-school shopping if a member can’t find a preferred size or color of an item,” she said.