Sears has had a difficult time adjusting to the ways that consumers shop in the new economy. It’s had a six year slump in sales. The company has actually lost money for the last two years. But Eddie Lambert, CEO, believes he knows how he can turn Sears around through a strategy he calls “integrated retail.”
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Integrated retail basically means that Sears will start to place a heavier emphasis on its online store. Until recently, it has treated online buying as little more than a fad. Finally, Sears seems to have realized that consumers don’t behave the same ways that they did in the 1990s. They expect more, and they don’t spend a lot of time with businesses that don’t offer what they want.
In some ways Lambert is taking his plan directly from the Amazon book for success. He plans to:
- reduce shipping times
- allowing third-party retailers to sell products via the Sears’s site
- increase the number of items buyers can purchase online (the number of items is currently about 75 million)
Sears also plans to integrate real-world and virtual shopping experience by letting online shoppers pick up items at the store while giving in-store shoppers the opportunity to have items shipped to their homes.
Like most successful online stores, Sears will also use information that it gathers about customers to direct them towards products they might want to buy. The company already has information on tens of millions of customers enrolled in its Shop Your Way loyalty program.
Pairing this program with the company’s latest e-commerce efforts could give Sears the boost it needs to become competitive again.
There is some concern, though, that Sears has shown up too late to this race. While retailers such as Amazon and Target have been targeting online shoppers for years, Sears has been slow to realize the importance of such a change. It could be too little, too late. [/show_to]