Sears Trying to Raise Consumer Electronics Profile
When 20 percent of shoppers in your stores don’t even know
you’re in a particular category, it’s kind of hard to build your business.
That, according to a report by TWICE, is what Sears Holdings was facing with
its home electronics business a year ago.
Karen Austin, president of home electronics
for the retailer, has sought in her roughly year on the job to make shoppers
aware that Sears is a legitimate alternative to other merchants in the category.
is crucial for Sears’ electronics business,” she
said. “We’ve been able to move the needle significantly.”
Among the changes
having taken place or in the process include planned department redesigns,
upgraded technology assortments, increased emphasis on online and mobile
channels and a new marketing campaign including television spots featuring
Minnesota Vikings quarterback Brett Favre. The company has also increased
its focus on associate training, something it had not done in four years.
is looking to leverage its in-home services network to build its business,
as well. Ms. Austin called it “a great opportunity.”
Another path to growth,
according to Ms. Austin, is online. “Seventy-five
percent of shoppers research online first,” she told TWICE, “so we created
new tools, new sites, and are investing heavily in increasing our e-commerce
Sears has also launched a number of websites intended to connect
shoppers with the consumer electronics that are right for them. TvMatchmaker.com,
CameraMatchMaker.com are among the sites that match shoppers’ habits with the
right products to meet their needs.
Discussion Questions: Do you see Sears
as having raised its profile in consumer electronics with recent changes? What
are your expectations for its business based on the changes it has made and
plans to make?