Sears personalizes with hyper-local e-commerce sites

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The front page of SearsLocalAd.com
The front page of SearsLocalAd.com

Sears Holdings Corp. launched hyper-local shopping sites for all of their U.S. locations May 7, an initiative that's intended to drive online consumers into Sears stores, said Tom Aiello, division VP of marketing at Sears Holdings Management Corporation.

To access a local store, customers visit www.searslocalad.com, Aiello said. From there, the customer input his or her location and receive information about deals at their local Sears store—including deals that are not available in the regular circular, he said.  Once customers are signed in as a “Shop Your Way” member, they can search their local stores. Because customers have to sign in, the site customizes based on each user's location as well as purchase history.

“It's the ability to look at all the items that are on sale at a Sears store, but specific to your geographic area,” Aiello said. “You have so many items that go on sale every week, but multiples more than that actually go on sale based on inventory in a store.” For example, Aiello recently bought a Play Place for his child on sale at his local store at 50% off, he said, a deal that wasn't available elsewhere.

“I think customers really want to know the specifics of what they able to get access to,” he said. “It's making sure that when I go to the store, it's going to be there.”

Customers have power these days, Aiello said, meaning they research before shopping. “Customers have taken a big step forward in how they shop,” he said. “Customers are using online upwards of 70 percent of the time they make a purchase,” which includes research.

“Things like this are trying to catch up with how customers actually shop,” he said.

In addition to the online search feature, Aiello said, customers can also share local ads among their friends and family, create shopping lists and make product comparisons on the site.

“You're going to see continued personalization of the shopping experience for the customers,” he said.

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