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Sears Tests ‘Connected Solutions’ Experiential Shops

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As part of its ongoing transformation, Sears recently launched ‘Connected Solutions’ pilot shops in stores and online that offer a selection of curated and complementary devices in one convenient location for consumers to access with ease.

The new shop-in-shops come under the Shop Your Way umbrella and provide what Sears calls “Lifestyle Integrated Electronics” for home automation, smart electronics, health and fitness, and connected auto, and the goal is to help customers streamline their lives. Shop Your Way is the retailer’s social shopping community and loyalty program that lets consumers earn reward points on brick or click purchases, get deals and coupons, read product reviews from like-minded shoppers and create custom wish lists for social sharing.

So far, Sears says Shop Your Way has been positive for sales, though not positive enough to bring the retailer out of the red. For the first quarter ended May 3, 2014, comparable store sales were down 1 percent, but losses for the quarter totaled $402 million, or $3.79 per diluted share, compared to $279 million, or $2.63 per diluted share in the same period last year.

According to Twice, Jim Pearse, Sears Holdings vice president of consumer electronics, said the 1,700-square-foot shops feature live product displays, “enabling our customers and Shop Your Way members to discover and learn how they connect, work and fit into their daily lives. No one else in retail is doing this today.”

Craig LaRosa, Sears Holdings deputy vice president for in-store experience and design told Twice, “Many of our members are aware of smart devices or home-automation products but don’t fully understand how they are used to make their lives better. Connected Solutions offers an entertaining and interactive environment to learn about the product.”

With Connected Solutions, according to Sears’ website, a customer could “Set up a cinema-quality home theater with a Samsung smart TV, and experience crystal-clear sound when you connect the iLive smart speakers. Your movies and video games will look their absolute best on a big screen from Sears, and you’ll have an unparalleled level of control over volume, playback and recording when you’re using smart TV technology. Don’t forget that you can stream videos and music through a smart hub from Netgear or Linksys and you can surf your favorite media sites right in the comfort of your own living room.”

In-store sales associates will be able to help shoppers find the necessary solutions and leave the store not only with the products, but full knowledge of how to use them together.

Sears feels with the integrated offering it will be well positioned to lead the connected solutions category given its existing full service sales floor, Twice reported.

The first three Connected Solutions test shops were rolled out at Sears stores in Oakbrook, Schaumburg and Vernon Hills, Ill., and the program is already available online here.

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