By Chuck Martin
Numerous recent studies indicate mobile will play a relatively prominent role in holiday shopping this year.
People will be researching, checking and comparing prices, looking for coupons and deals and some making purchases from their mobile devices.
One of the questions for retailers is how much shopping activity will come from their app and how much from their mobile website.
In the case of Sears and Kmart, they’re betting heavily on the mobile website.
To that end, Sears Holdings Corporation has been rolling out a totally re-tooled mobile website nationally over the last month or so in time for the coming shopping season.
I spent some time recently with Andy Chu, divisional vice president and general manager at Sears Holding Co., who walked me through some of the new features and reasoning.
“We started with the user experience, did field testing, a lot of A-B testing and brought customers through the labs,” says Chu.
Sears holdings has no illusions about the complexity of satisfying the needs of mobile shoppers.
“It’s the wild, wild west,” says Chu. “We’re doubling down on mobile.”
The first major initiative was to re-do the website. “The majority of our traffic is on the mobile Web,” says Chu.
This is essentially the same approach Staples took recently when it underwent a major redesign and re-launch of its mobile website to further enable commerce.
Demographics also are a consideration for Sears Holdings. For example, a higher percentage of Kmart shoppers use Android devices than those at Sears, according to Chu.
The new mobile site features a layaway program for later mobile payments, a coupon center to select and store deals, an order center to view pending orders and shopping capabilities by category.
Shoppers can register and then sign in to the mobile site, redeem coupons across channels and receive offers based on geofences at all the stores. They have the option of entering a zip code or allowing the system to identify their location.
While some shoppers will use a retailer’s app, many will default to the merchant’s website.
Retailers like Sears are working to make sure they’re ready for both sets of shoppers.
Chuck Martin is Editor of the mCommerce Daily at MediaPost and writes the daily MobileShopTalk column. He is the author of “Mobile Influence,” “The Third Screen,” and “The Smartphone Handbook.” He is CEO of Mobile Future Institute. Chuck Martin is a frequent Mobile Keynote Speaker and Mobile Marketing Speaker internationally. He also addresses Social Media in Mobile.