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Sears leverages mobile for holiday sales sneak peeks

Sears is drumming up anticipation for Black Friday deals by offering early looks at sales on mobile devices and online for Shop Your Way rewards members and promotion via designated hashtags on Twitter and Facebook.

The retail brand is leveraging mobile devices and social media to help spread the word about Black Friday deals and remind Shop Your Way members of a slew of rewards they will be eligible for, including 10 percent back in rewards points on their first qualifying purchase of $500 made with a Sears card on Thanksgiving or Black Friday. Sears LocalAd is currently offering a sneak peek at some of the sales, and is accessible via smartphones, tablets or desktops.

“Like popular ‘flash’ sales, retailers offering their loyal consumers a preview of upcoming sales builds anticipation and perhaps strengthens the ‘impulse’ in an ‘impulse buy’,” said Paul Alvarez, vice president of sales and business development at Atimi, Vancouver, Canada. “It also gives the shoppers a reason to specifically seek out your stores if the deal is too good to overlook.

“I’d rather know what the doorbuster is before investing the time to physically show up. And of course, once you are in the store, there is a high likelihood of purchasing other items.”

Merry for members
While Sears is offering doorbuster deals for all customers, it is aiming to make the holiday season even merrier for members of its Shop Your Way program, a social shopping destination and loyalty program that allows participants to collect points for future purchases.

To catch an early glimpse at some of Sears’ deals, members can visit on their smartphone, tablet or computer. LocalAd displays sales from the Sears circular, but also reveals hundreds of in-store discounts specific to local stores.

Consumers interested in getting a sneak peek can also follow the conversation about Sears holiday deals on Twitter and Facebook via the #MoreMerry hashtag, and use the #MembersFirst hashtag to discuss Shop Your Way exclusives.

“Social media plays in important role for retail in general and the peak buying season is of course even more important,” Mr. Alvarez said. “Allowing your shoppers to share/brag about the great deals they found makes them feel/appear more savvy in their social circles while also giving them a sense that they are helping their friends and families too.”

Guests can also check for daily and weekly deals using the Shop Your Way mobile application, which is stocked with personalized coupons. Sears has been augmenting its rewards app significantly this year, and recently added In-Vehicle Pickup options for on-the-go customers (see story).

Leveraging online and mobile
Sears is also offering Free Store Pickup and Free Anyone, Free Anywhere Pickup options in addition to In-Vehicle Pickup, enabling consumers to receive their doorbuster purchases faster and in the most convenient matter.

Another feature available is Get Advice, which uses mobile and online channels to connect shoppers with Sears store associates to ensure that customers will receive advice on items and services that will result in them obtaining exactly what they are looking for.

Sears is also treating Shop Your Way members with an exclusive online pre-sale event taking place from 6 p.m. on Nov. 20 to 11:59 p.m. on Nov. 21. Members can access the event by signing into their Shop Your Way accounts online at to access many holiday deals one week before Thanksgiving.

“If Sears continues to promote the app, they will see more downloads,” Mr. Alvarez said. “As the excitement of Black Friday approaches, shoppers will be planning their day and their spending and if the app can help them be better informed they will see the value.

“Retailers who can position themselves early for share of wallet will fare better.”

Final Take
Alex Samuely is an editorial assistant on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York