Sears/Kmart Deploy ‘Mobile Shopping Walls’ to Drive Sales

Discussion
Nov 04, 2011

It’s been working for Tesco in South Korea. Procter & Gamble has been testing it in Prague. Now, Sears and Kmart are using QR codes to extend beyond their stores and allow consumers the opportunity to buy goods through "mobile shopping walls" in high-traffic places such as airports, bus shelters, malls and movie theaters around the U.S.

With the holiday season approaching, Sears has some of the hottest items from its online Toy Shop on the walls. Kmart is following suits with its Fab 15 toy list.

"We know how important it is to make shopping as convenient as possible, which is why we are bringing the Sears and Kmart shopping experience to places that correspond with our customers’ everyday routines," said Hugo Malan, SVP and president, fitness, sporting goods and toys, for Sears Holdings, in a press release.

"Our mobile shopping walls are not only convenient because of their unexpected locations, but they offer easy shipping options as well," said Julia Fitzgerald, chief digital engagement officer, toys and sporting goods for Sears Holdings. "Our goal is to make holiday shopping so simple that customers can find the perfect gift while they are traveling or going about their daily lives, and have them waiting at their doorstep when they arrive home."

A RetailWire poll in July asked if similar technology to what Sears and Kmart are using would be successful if deployed in the U.S. Sixty-four percent of respondents said it would be "very" or "somewhat successful." Thirty-one percent thought it would be "somewhat" or "very unsuccessful."

Discussion Questions: What do you think of Sears and Kmart deploying “mobile shopping walls” using QR codes in places such as airports, bus shelters, malls and movie theaters? Will we see other retailers and/or brands doing the same in large numbers?

Join the Discussion!

10 Comments on "Sears/Kmart Deploy ‘Mobile Shopping Walls’ to Drive Sales"

Notify of

Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
Dick Seesel
BrainTrust

The use of QR codes is a good way to take e-commerce to a more convenient level. It appeals to the impulse shopper with a smartphone at hand, and eliminates the need to deal with a computer or tablet to place an online order. This sort of technology will become more commonplace in the next five years, and you might expect to see kiosks where customers with smartphones can shop from “virtual malls.”

And just because it’s Sears/Kmart doesn’t make it a bad idea! However, a couple of key questions linger: Is the “smartphone shopper” also a Sears/Kmart shopper? And does the new technology hide the fact that these stores are no longer perceived as top-of-mind or relevant shopping options?

Doug Stephens
Guest
Doug Stephens
5 years 10 months ago

Add this to the endless list of the the things that Sears throws against the “virtual wall” to see if it sticks. Another shot in the dark aimed at propping up a failing business.

Ladies and gentlemen, Sears does not need QR code shopping. It needs a complete, end-to-end re-branding and strategic re-positioning.

Ed Dunn
Guest
5 years 10 months ago

I believe mobile walls should be digital to allow dynamic planogram building. QR codes are best read on digital displays than printed displays.

The static mobile walls such as the South Korean subway example is prone to typos and placement of products that are not optimized.

A 70″ LCD display with an SD card slot for example can be just as cost-effective as paying someone to constantly take down/put up a printed mobile shopping wall at these high traffic locations.

Paul R. Schottmiller
Guest
Paul R. Schottmiller
5 years 10 months ago

Walls, windows, signs, magazine pages, social media sites, and vending kiosks equal unprecedented innovation outside the four walls of the store. The role of the physical store in retailing is being transformed like never before.

Kai Clarke
BrainTrust

This is a great concept, but whether it truly generates increased profits is the real question. There is a sunk cost in all of this mobility, added to the sunk cost of the retail stores and website, and the true question is does the extra exposure, at the increased cost it requires, generate additional profits. Only time will tell….

Carlos Arambula
BrainTrust

It’s extending the retail function beyond the brick and mortar location, a very effective manner to bring the retailer to consumers who would otherwise never visit the stores. Additionally it’s a time-saving function that makes idle time productive.

Not only do I expect other retailers to follow suit, but individual brands (as P&G is doing) will also follow suit.

Joel Warady
Guest
Joel Warady
5 years 10 months ago

Kudos to Sears and Kmart for taking the leap and trying this new initiative. It has been working well in countries where there are limited retail locations, and little space to build more. In the US, where we certainly are an over-retailed society right now, I’m not sure how necessary these shopping walls really are. But that being said, Sears and Kmart have to do something to find their place in the market, and this might be the answer.

The experiment is worth watching.

Brian Kelly
Guest
5 years 10 months ago

Sears used to have a tagline, “There’s more for your life at Sears.” Despite this, sales were lousy. If folks don’t care about Sears, it doesn’t matter if it has more. I see this news the same way. Who cares about Sears regardless of the channel?

Ted Hurlbut
Guest
Ted Hurlbut
5 years 10 months ago

I agree with Doug Stephens. It’s hard to envision two chains that are struggling to retain their relevancy in the bricks & mortar world suddenly becoming relevant in the mobile world. They might pioneer the concept, but their brand has been so degraded that I don’t think this will earn them many new customers.

Craig Sundstrom
Guest

Poor Sears. Even when it does something right, it can’t win anybody’s love…and I can’t say that I disagree. Eddie needs to hire a merchant (and then get out of the way).

wpDiscuz

Take Our Instant Poll

How effective will will mobile shopping walls be in generating sales for Sears and Kmart?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...