Sears announced today it is accelerating the closing of 50 unprofitable stores in order to reverse declining profits. (Sears predicted Q4 earnings to drop to $7.3 billion from $8.1 billion in the previous year.) A Gifted brand in L2’s latest Digital IQ Index: Big Box, Sears is in a position to leverage its remaining stores using digital. Newly added capabilities can result a retail model that relies less on foot traffic and more on incentivizing online browsers to make purchases, without driving up fulfillment costs.
Sears is an omnichannel leader relative to other brands in L2’s Big Box Index. It is one of two brands to offer the full suite of delivery and pickup capabilities on its desktop site. For example, users can filter products they browse by local availability, and all product page display availability and pricing for picking up at a nearby store or shipping. On mobile, Sears experience with customized features, notably mobile-optimized live chat and automatic geolocation. Even though big box retailers have been implementing site and store integration features in the past year (as shown in the graph below), Sears is unique in its comprehensive approach.
However, all the omnichannel features are useless without visitors, and Sears has made a point to drive traffic with video ads. It has one of the highest number of unique desktop video ads after Home Depot and Walmart, as well as one of the largest relative impressions. Sears is one of the seven brands that account for 62% of total unique video ads placed across the Index during the study period. Likewise, on social, Sears leverages a Shop Now button on its Facebook pages and places similar calls-to-action within its sponsored posts and advertisements.
These features can be helpful for online shoppers who prefer to purchase items at a store, and as consequentially retain a portion of the shoppers visiting the stores set for closure.