The Sears marketing program integrated the social cause of the company’s brand. Gobé (2001) says that the point of view of building a strong emotional brand strategy would serve to reinforce the company’s image as a friendly American place to shop. For example, while bolstering through the addition of the fashion editors, the marketing program promoted the idea of Sears as a store that carries contemporary hip fashions for younger women (Gobé 2001)
Through its marketing program Sears provided a full line of products through online shopping at the company website. Though many customers believed that the company over-priced its apparels and appliances, the company viewed it as a misperception and therefore it dropped the prices of certain items. The company also launched a new advertising campaign for its appliances in the year 2004. The marketing program helped Sears to make arrangement with one of the catalogue clothing giant to sell its apparel in Sears’s stores besides the internet. This approach expanded the company’s product offering and helped it to gain insight on how to effectively sell on the internet.
After an intelligent market research Sears changed the physical layout of its stores. The company also launched new smaller stores nationwide known as Sears Grand. The rollout was based on the fact that customers would shop more on small stores than larger stores. The increase in the number of stores eventually increased revenue and contributed to Sears’s competitive advantage. The marketing program also focused on remodeling the traditional stores to ensure expansion of product lines in the home textile. All these marketing programs were based on the adoption of sound marketing strategies and extensive marketing research. The program put more emphasis on customers selected department stores when shopping for specific needs.
Through its marketing program, Sears successfully defended its turf against the onslaught of apparel and appliance discounters and warehouse store concepts (Nykiel 2003). Sears program was exceptional as a service provider after sales service and also customers knew that if they purchase a Sears brand, they will know who to call if a problem aroused. Nykiel (2003) indicated that “the program ensured that the company had a distribution advantage” (p. 154). Sears marketing program offered more convenience and more reliable services at the same price. Backed up by price parity, good reputation, and trained point-of-encounter/customer contact employees, Sears has more competitive advantage that other department in the country.
Sears marketing program redefined merchandising as its core business in 2005. Clow & Baack (2011) indicated that the program helped the company to be more focused, efficient, and profitable retailer. As a result, the firm embarked on long-term productivity drive aimed at attaining a cost structure that could compete with the best American and Canadian retailers. Clow & Baack (2011) says that, “the marketing program was aimed at recharging various product categories with continuous investments particularly those targeting categories such as women’s wear, means wear, home furnishings, major appliances, home decor and cosmetics and accessories” (p. 486). The program considered these areas as destination categories in which the company had established an authority position with customers (Clow & Baack 2011).
The Sears marketing program aimed at building and growing the areas of its business strength hence investments were made to launch new products, increase selling space, expand in-store department, increase catalogue pages, improve the product knowledge of salespeople, and generally enhance the in-store customer experience (Clow & Baack 2011). According to Clow & Baack (2011), Sears had four types of full-line department stores classified on the basis of sales volume, store, size, location, and market demographics. The program helped the company to realize that customers wanted an easy-to-shop environment with exceptional customer service. The new department stores consisted of an easy-to-shop interior with wider aisles, clear and bright sightlines and color-coded departments allowing customers to navigate through the store more quickly and easily (Clow & Baack 2011). The program also took into account customer service centers set next to fitting rooms to allow associates to better serve customers.
In conclusion, the Sears marketing program articulates that a loyal customer is necessarily satisfied, but a satisfied customer would not necessarily be loyal (Clow & Baack 2011). This implies that it is not enough to satisfy customers. The objective of the marketing program therefore should be to provide a high-quality customer service at the stores resulting in very satisfied customers that are likely to shop at Sears again and more likely to recommend Sears to others. Clow & Baack (2011) also noted that for Sears, customer experience is a key retail value proposition. The program therefore encompasses many ways in which a retailer can not only satisfy but delight customers leading to customer loyalty.
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