Frankly, I haven’t thought about Sears in a while, and can’t remember the last time I went into one of their stores.
So this article on Yahoo! Finance is an eye-opener, focusing on everything the company is doing to stay relevant:
On a recent morning at the flagship Sears in downtown Chicago, the youthful, caffeine-fueled team of e-commerce designers and engineers was abuzz. Among their latest projects: mobile applications that tap into smart-phone global-positioning systems and offer customers merchandise based on their location: Yankees sweat shirts in New York, Dodgers caps in Los Angeles.
To test their phone creations, the engineers descend into the department store with handsets and grab customers in the aisles. To obtain feedback on Web sites, workers take shoppers upstairs to a small laboratory that resembles a recording studio.
Inside, testers sit across a plate-glass window from the subjects and speak to them via microphone while a camera watches their eyes wander the computer screen. A recent quiz gauges shopper reaction to a new application that lets people check out shoes from every angle.
Sears has been caught between the ubiquity of Wal-Mart, the ease and selection of an Amazon, and the trendiness of Target, Best Buy and other big box stores. I wonder if a traditional retailer can make it with today’s technology.