Sears to offer drive-through pickup for online orders

In the competitive world of retail, selling convenience is key,. While Sears struggles to keep pace, the department store chain announced a bold move this week — free drive-through pickup service for online orders.

The retailer said cold winter weather has taken a toll on store traffic but it wants to reward consumers who order online and chose to pick the items up at a local store, without having to leave the warmth of their car.

“We are transitioning from a business that has historically focused on running a store network into a business that provides and delivers value by serving its members in the manner most convenient for them,” the retailer told investors last month.

The new drive-through feature is part of Sears’ attempt to capture online shoppers’ dollars.  It’s also aimed at getting more customers to use the retailer’s mobile app.

A consumer can order their items online, chose store pickup service and when it’s convenient drive to the store chosen as the pickup site. The app notifies the store the shopper is parked out front. The order is delivered by a store attendant within five minutes. If the store doesn’t meet the 5-minute guaranteed, a $5 dollar coupon is given to the customer waiting. 

Sears customers have to share identifying details about their vehicles, such as make, model and color (but no license plate information), the company said. The retailer provides a tutorial on the service in this You Tube link.

The retailer said the drive-though option is getting positive feedback from senior customers and moms with small children.

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Sears sales were down more than 9% in the previous quarter and the retailers expects a loss of $360 million this quarter.

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