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Sears’ Digital Tire Journey aids tire purchasing through AI

Sears is rolling out a new Web and mobile application that uses artificial intelligence to help customers pick and purchase tires for their car.

The move makes use of Sears’ continued investment in artificial intelligence to streamline the retail process. The app asks questions and uses machine learning to learn and remember customer preferences.

“The Digital Tire Journey is an innovative service that helps customers cut through the clutter while integrating digital, mobile and online with in-store shopping,” said Brian Kaner, president of Sears Auto Centers.

Digital Tire Journey
For most retail transactions, the process is fairly simple. Customers view the product, usually compare it to others and then finally make the purchase.

Some categories are more complicated than others. Apparel has a level of complexity that other retail categories do not, owing to size, fit, color and other variations.

But some retail transactions are even more complicated than that, requiring a series of decisions to be made not only to find the right product on a technical level but on a personal level as well.

Sears believes that purchasing tires for a car is one such category that requires an extra level of care in the decision making process.

To aid this, Sears is debuting a new artificial intelligence Web app, available on desktop and mobile, that helps users find the perfect tires for them and to make a final decision and transaction.

The app is called the Digital Tire Journey and it makes use of IBM Watson technology to parse natural language and allow for a smooth and natural conversation between the user and the AI.

There are thousands of different tire brands along with sizes, materials and style to sort through. The AI is meant to help customers navigate all those complexities in an easy way.

For example, the Web app will ask them questions about their driving priorities, what kind of car they drive, how often they drive, where they live and what the climate is like and other similar questions in order to build up a digital profile of what kind of tire is perfect for them.

Once the recommendations have been made, consumers have the option of purchasing them online right there or scheduling an appointment to have them installed at a Sears auto shop.

Artificial intelligence
The unveiling of the Digital Tire Journey app is only the latest in a long line of efforts from Sears to make use of apps to bolster both its online and offline shopping experiences.

The brand has made extensive use of its Shop Your Way app as a companion to both its own shopping experiences and in partnerships with other brands such as Uber (see story).

The brand has also previously worked on making it possible for consumers to order something online or through an app and then be able to pick it up in-store, as they did this past holiday season (see story).

Altogether, the Digital Tire Journey is another way that Sears is unifying its customer shopping experience across all channels, with a particular emphasis on mobile as a way of getting people in the door.

“Our vision is to put our members’ lives in drive,” Mr. Kaner said. “We do that by investing in people, products and technology to keep them moving safely on the road of life.”