A quick look around the just opened Flatbush, Brooklyn location of
Sears' major appliance relaunch, initiated this past summer to regain lost market share (see TWICE, June 23, p. 1), continues to evolve with the unfurling of a revamped, majaps-driven e-commerce site, and even a stint on television's "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno."
CEO Alan Lacy noted that the newly enhanced Sears.com, which relaunched late last month, represents a "critical aspect" of the retailer's appliance initiative, which also includes more lower-priced models (and a new commission structure that favors them); improved signage; and greater in-store stock.
Bill Bass, who had previously run e-commerce operations for Lands' End and now serves as VP/general manager of Sears Customer Direct, concurred that the changes at Sears.com were dictated in large measure by majaps. "We asked ourselves 'How do you kick a business with a 40 percent market share up to the next level?'" he said. The Web site was a logical avenue, he noted, because nearly 20 percent of appliance purchases made in a Sears store were first researched at Sears' site.
Improvements include faster and easier navigation and sorting tools that allow online shoppers to more quickly drill down through the site's 3,500-model assortment based on such criteria as price, color, brand, capacity, power source, or venting needs.
Bass also increased the informational content by a factor of five, creating an online data base, or Buying Guide, that provides comprehensive specs, requirements, optional equipment, owner's manuals, service and warranty information, delivery options, side-by-side comparisons, and multiple product shots.
Sears has also installed Internet kiosks within the appliance departments of all full-line locations to allow in-store customers to tap into the site's greater selection and resources.
Meanwhile, on a different front, Sears heralded "Energy Month" on "The Tonight Show" earlier this month by catapulting used, energy-inefficient majaps 30 yards across NBC's backlot. The Sears-developed educational campaign is designed to encourage consumers to replace their old appliances with new Energy Star-rated products.