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During 2015, more than a third of Sears Holding Corp.’s online traffic originated from a mobile phone, which represents a whopping 46% increase over 2014. Company officials plan to leverage this massive increase in mobile customer engagement by refreshing its mobile app to provide a seamless, store-centric customer experience.
Loyalty360 caught up with Leena Munjal, Senior Vice President, Customer Experience & Integrated Retail, Sears Holdings to learn more about the company’s plans in this regard.
When did Sears implement enhancements to its mobile app and how has the app impacted customer experience?
Sears fully implemented the new enhancements in early December, including a new feature that allows shoppers to get free shipping on items purchased in-store via their app. The Sears app now automatically senses when a shopper is in-store. The app notifies them that they can order an item or gift and have it shipped for free to their home, friends, or family in the right size or color if it is not available in store (location services must be enabled). We also significantly enhanced the layaway features – now shoppers can initiate a new layaway contract and make all payments via the Sears app. In-store, shoppers can now simply scan products directly from the app.
How has the Shop Your Way loyalty program progressed in the past year and what insights have been gleaned that Sears has been able to leverage in a positive fashion?
We’re engaging our members more than ever. We regularly surprise our members with points they can use on their most relevant purchases. Our social community is a key Shop Your Way differentiator, allowing members to view exclusive celebrity content where they can interact with celebrities like Nicki Minaj and Adam Levine and a community where shoppers can connect and share shopping tips, their favorite products, and more.
We’re also offering more personalized services, like:
We also have a growing list of Shop Your Way Partners. Members can earn Shop Your Way points with thousands of popular retailers, restaurants and more; including Walmart, Target, Best Buy, Sears, Kmart, and Home Depot. We are adding more brands every day, and monthly deals can give members special offers like 70% off merchandise and 20% back in points. There are dozens of great brands and shopping options for Moms, including Carter’s, Diapers.com, Chicco, Citrus Lane, and more. Members can simply link their credit card and earn points when they make purchases at participating online or in-store partners.
What has customer feedback been for the mobile app enhancements?
Shopping should be an enjoyable hassle-free experience, especially during the holiday season. Initial feedback has been positive from our members who love the ability to quickly find the right products and compare features, prices and user reviews; get and use eCoupons, find deals, make the most of Shop Your Way points; make purchases, and track orders. Feedback has also been good on the new free in-store shipping and layaway management features.
How important is listening to your customers for Sears?
Feedback is integral to development and refinement of all the innovations and conveniences Sears continues to introduce for members. Buying what you really want should be easy. We believe in building relationships with our members, not just transactions – introducing innovative services like Free In-Store Shipping, In-Vehicle Pickup, Return and Exchange in Five, Reserve It, and more help us continue to foster those relationships.
Are you surprised that there has been such a major increase in 2015 in Sears online traffic that originates from a mobile phone?
Based on the data and trends, we knew 2015 would be the most connected holiday shopping season ever with shoppers leveraging in-store, online, and mobile conveniences to shop for gifts. We have seen a steady increase of members using their mobile phones, tablets, and other devices to browse and buy gifts for those on their list. In fact, mobile’s share of Sears and Kmart online sales doubled in the past year, and more than a third of online traffic coming from mobile phones–up 46% from last year.
Will your strategy behind mobile change at all in 2016 due to this?
We don’t discuss future strategies, but I can tell you that mobile will continue to be a key component in how we continue to serve, delight and engage our members while they shop their way.
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