Listen to an in-depth interview with Eui Chung, divisional VP and general manager for social commerce at Sear's Holdings. See the RetailWire Podcast below...
Sears Holdings' social media strategy can be described as an ongoing give-and-take between the company and its customers. The company's ability to engage its customers is seen as one of the primary reasons behind the growth of its online business, which consistently ranks among the top e-tail sites.
Eui Chung, divisional VP and general manager for social commerce at Sear's Holdings, told RetailWire, "That's one of the primary justifications behind the launch of My Sears Community back in May of 2009. We realize the ability to interact with our customers and receive their feedback is key to our goal of continuing to improve the shopping experience for everyone."
Sears Holdings has a system in place to respond to customers whether feedback comes from Facebook, Twitter, blogs or any of its own websites.
"If a customer logs in to Sears.com, they have the ability to chat with a personal shopper representative. They'll be able to receive one on one customer support which explains their situation with absolutely no character limits. The conversation is private and we're working to ensure the experience is personalized and valuable," said Mr. Chung.
On outside sites, Mr. Chung said, Sears Holdings' "social media team typically makes the initial outreach and then works with our customer network to ensure the customer receives a resolution with a personalized point of contact."
The immediacy of social media is another opportunity for connecting with customers and effectively giving them some ownership of their relationship. "Whether it's a new feature for a website or a new slogan we're considering, we need social media channels to obtain feedback quickly from our customers," said Mr. Chung. "As an example, we've actually had buyers overseas on buying trips use communities to determine which products to put on our shelves for the holiday season."
Sears' ability to reach consumers is expanding as more people use smart phones.
"We evolve with our customers' needs," said Mr. Chung. "(With) the opportunities in social media and mobile technology, it was natural that we leverage it to offer our customers a choice in convenience and how and when they want to shop and whether it's in store or online. We see it as a tremendous opportunity to move forward and a strategic part of Sears Holdings' (marketing)."
Discussion Questions: What impresses you most about Sears Holdings' approach to digital and social media? Where do you see opportunities for improvement?
How would you grade Sears Holdings' effectiveness strictly from a social media standpoint?