Steve’s breakdown: A Sears Appliances store is launching on Wednesday and they plan to open a few more stores over the year. This might be a good opportunity to pitch a small account in a giant company. Leena Mundal is the senior VP, customer experience and integrated retail and is probably the main contact.
HOFFMAN ESTATES, IL: Sears Holdings has been making news lately mostly by closing stores. But in an unexpected move, the troubled retailer announced plans to test a freestanding appliance specialty store concept.
Sears Appliances will debut on May 18, in Fort Collins, Colorado. The 10,000-sq.-ft. store will have a strong digital edge, with interactive displays that allow customers to view home appliances in kitchen vignettes. It will feature what Sears described as “the top 10 brands” of refrigerators, dishwashers, washers, dryers, ranges, wall ovens, and vacuums.
Reuters reported that the chain plans to test the small format with a handful of openings this year.
“Obviously we want to move the needle,” Leena Munjal, senior VP, customer experience and integrated retail, Sears Holdings, told Reuters, referring to the potential for expansion. “This is very much a quick, scalable model.”
The centerpiece of Sears Appliances is a 122-inch interactive digital display that visualizes how new appliances would appear in a full-scale kitchen. Using a tablet, shoppers can select common kitchen layouts and appliances and further customize the experience by choosing colors and finishes. They can make appointments with in-store experts for one-on-one assistance.
“We’re using digital innovation and this new store space in a different way which will enable us to deliver a superior shopping experience to our members,” stated Munjal in an official release. “The store in Ft. Collins is a great example of how we are focusing on our best categories, stores and members and how the right blend of a physical store with Sears’ digital capabilities can deliver a fresh, innovative and convenient way for our members to shop.”
Sears Appliances will feature digital price tags and digital signage. It will offer free shipping on mobile orders placed in the store, and buy online and ship to the store, in-vehicle pickup services.
The news about Sears Appliances comes just days after J.C. Penney announced it planned to add in-store appliance showrooms to nearly 500 Penney stores