Sears and Kmart are attempting to boost lagging sales by offering an online/in-store collaboration that allows customers to pick up Web orders at any of each other’s more than 2,000 U.S. store locations.
“Sears was the first broadline retailer to provide the convenience of free buy online pick up in store more than 12 years ago, and we continue to introduce integrated offerings to help our members shop on their own terms,” said Imran Jooma, executive vice president, Sears Holdings.
Sears Holdings joins discount retailers Walmart and Target in adding innovative Web-based services in attempts to stem falling sales. Other retailers that have embraced the in-store pickup concept include Lowe’s, Staples and Men’s Wearhouse.
Other retailers like Amazon believe speed will help them win bigger sales. In June Target announced an experiment with same-day service called Rush Delivery in Boston, Miami and the Twin Cities. It costs an extra $10 per order, which must be placed by 1:30 pm to be delivered between 6 and 9 pm.
Sears announced in May that it was reducing costs by closing 80 stores this year. It already has closed about 500 store locations since 2005, and reported last January that it was cutting 1,800 jobs.
The Sears’ and Kmart parent company said customers are taking increasing advantage of integrated shopping, with 60% of current online sales being multichannel transactions. In the last quarter, online and multichannel sales rose 26% over the prior year, it said.
Sears and Kmart are rolling out the expanded service before back-to-school season, when customers may need particular items from Sears or Kmart, but only have one of those physical stores close to their homes, the company pointed out.
Similarly, a customer may order a Craftsman tool at sears.com and pick it up for free at any nearby Kmart store, Sears Holdings noted.