Sears Offers More Than Discounts
Retailers are battling it out to see who
can be perceived as offering the biggest bargains, but Sears has decided
that while it needs to talk value, it simply isn’t going to win by trying
to out-discount the discounters.
Instead, the struggling department store
chain has chosen to promote unique initiatives, such as its layaway program
and a guarantee that its kids clothing will not wear out before the
child grows out of the duds. The latter program, known as Kidvantage, offers
to replace clothing free of charge should it become too holey or otherwise unwearable while
still fitting the child for whom it was purchased.
an AdAge.com article, both the layaway program and Kidvantage give
Sears the means to eliminate "barriers
to shopping" while "differentiating itself from rivals at the
already put a stake in the ground when it comes to offering a wide assortment
of great brand names that are affordable," Craig Israel, senior VP-president
of Sears Apparel, told Ad Age. "No matter how reasonably priced
an item is, though, it has to stand up to the rigors of active kids or
there’s no cost savings for parents. It’s a program we see resonating more
and more with our customers during these difficult economic times."
Discussion Questions: What do you think of
Sears’ attempts to differentiate with its layaway and Kidvantage programs?
Are these initiatives that can be co-opted by others and used perhaps
more successfully than by Sears?