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Sears discounts online orders picked up in stores

December 20, 2016 11:25 AM
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Sears Holdings Corp. is offering a gift for last-minute online shoppers who pick up their online orders in a store.

Sears, No. 14 in the Internet Retailer 2016 Top 500 Guide, is offering 20% off select merchandise ordered online and picked up in store through Christmas Eve. The promotion is good through its flagship Sears.com site and includes merchandise categories such as furniture, home decor and apparel. The in-store pickup option is free and Sears says it can have all online orders ready to pick up inside of five minutes. Sears says some stores will remain open until 6 p.m. local time on Christmas Eve.

Leena Munjal, senior vice president of customer experience and integrated retail at Sears, says the idea for this promotion was born from the fact that time is simply running out on the holiday shopping season.

“Buy online pick up in store is a pretty big deal for us because you’re running out of options on where to go,” she says. “For us, the big deal was to make sure our members understand how convenient it is for them to get the presents they want and before Christmas.”

Munjal declined to specify how frequently online shoppers who pick up their orders in store buy something else upon picking up their orders. She did say, however, that store teams can fulfill all online orders inside of five minutes of a customer arriving at the designated merchandise pickup location because Sears has been offering the service for so long.

“Buy online, pick up in store is in our DNA,” she says. “We know how to do this really really well. This is part of how we onboard our associates, how we train them. From an execution and operational standpoint, this is something that is a huge focus for us.”

She's also not ruling out running a similar promotion outside of the holiday shopping season.

“We have a lot to learn,” she says. “Depending on what we learn from that and what the needs are, we may do it if it makes sense.”

Pet supplies retailer PetSmart Inc. (No. 340) is offering a similar buy online, pick up in store promotion, but only for one day. PetSmart said Tuesday it will give up to 20% off shoppers’ online purchase when they select the in-store pickup option on Dec. 23, which it has dubbed National Fetch It Day.

“Fetch It Day truly offers the best of both worlds for our pet parents—the convenience of shopping online or on-the-go via a mobile device and then simply swinging by a store to quickly and easily fetch their gifts in time for Christmas,” says Eran Cohen, PetSmart’s chief customer experience officer.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (No. 4) is not offering discounts on online orders that are picked up in store, but it is promoting last-minute gifts that can be bought online and picked up in stores without a shipping fee. Wal-Mart customers will have less time to retrieve those orders on Christmas Eve, however. The retailer on Tuesday said stores will close at 6 p.m. Christmas Eve, two hours earlier than last year. “Our associates work hard all year to make this holiday season special for our customers, and we truly appreciate what they do every day. We also know that getting home on Christmas Eve to spend time with families is important. That’s why this year we’ll be closing at 6 p.m. on Christmas Eve,” Judith McKenna, executive vice president and chief operating officer, Walmart U.S., said in a statement.

Sears says its holiday push to marry in-store and online service is part of its ongoing effort to give shoppers what they want.

“We are shifting from being product-centric to member-centric, from transacting with customers to building relationships with our members, from focused on driving our customers to our store networks to building integrated retail capabilities that leverage the store network to create solutions that meet our members’ needs,” chief financial officer Jason Hollar said on Sears’ Q3 earnings call earlier this month, according to a transcript on Sears’ website.

Through the first nine months of 2016 ended Oct. 29, Sears, which does not break out online sales in its quarterly earnings reports, reported total merchandise sales and services of $16.086 billion, down 9.8% from $17.843 billion last year.

 

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