Sears announced on Tuesday a holiday price guarantee for members of its free Shop Your Way shipping and promotional perks program who buy products at the upcoming Sears Days Lowest Prices of the Season Member Bonus Event, which will take place on Oct. 16.
If the in-store price on an item bought during the event falls between the day of the sale and Dec. 24, Sears will automatically refund the difference (up to $100) as purchase points applied to the Shop Your Way member’s account. The refund will show up in Shop Your Way accounts on Jan. 16.
The sale begins Oct. 20, but the refund policy applies only to items purchased in-store on Oct. 16 by Shop Your Way members.
The offer is a bit convoluted — it applies to in-store purchases on a special day for Shop Your Way members of a sale that begins a different day. And while it applies only to in-store prices for most areas, a few Sears stores are holding the event only online, according to the press release.
On the other hand, the holiday guarantee is an attempt to emphasize one of Sears’ (perhaps surprising) strengths: Its Shop Your Way loyalty program. Members earn points on purchases, get special coupons and are privy to curbside pickup as well as other perks. The free membership was an early omnichannel effort that received kudos from customers and marketers alike, and it has arguably helped Sears stay alive this long because it has kept loyal customers around what many say is a sinking ship.
Still, some observers might say that it's an open question whether there will be much left of Sears (or Kmart) after the holidays, despite the fact that Sears Holdings Corp. CEO Edward Lampert has fiercely denied rumors that Kmart will shutter.
The Sears Days sales event is one way to jumpstart the holiday shopping season — and perhaps sustain sales through the new year, considering that refunded points won't be deposited into Shop Your Way accounts until Jan. 16. The sale touts many deals on appliances, a category that remains strong for the struggling retailer.
But that strength could eventually be diminished with the sale of its iconic Craftsman unit. Bids on that business are due at the end of the month, and number of companies are interesting, including: Stanley Black & Decker, Hong Kong-based Techtronic Industries, Bain Capital-owned Apex Tool Group and Stockholm-based Husqvarna.
This story is part of our ongoing coverage of the 2016 holiday shopping season. You can browse our holiday page for more stories.