As a company of more than 200,000 associates, working through a radical transformation of our business – centered on our Shop Your Way program and leveraging our Integrated Retail strengths – we know how important it is that we provide everyone who comes to our stores the absolute best possible experience. For quite some time, we’ve heard and read commentary about the condition of our stores.
As much as we want to get every experience right, we know we are not perfect. However, make no mistake; we understand that in the hyper-competitive retail industry, when we aren’t perfect we have to get it right, and quickly.
As the head of the Customer Experience and Integrated Retail teams for Sears Holdings, I personally get emails from Shop Your Way members when things don’t go as planned and I read through every single one of them to understand where we fall short. When it happens, there are two things we do immediately: First, we fix the issue for our customers and members as soon as possible, and second, we do a deep dive on the issue to understand the root cause and eliminate the reason for the failure so it does not have a negative impact on another member’s experience. And in an effort to track our progress, our associates and our Shop Your Way members can post photos of every store location we have on ShopYourWay.com. We know of no other retailer in the world that does anything similar.
Our stores remain very important to us as they are a key part of our Integrated Retail strategy. People ask about our investment in our stores, so let me share a bit on how we are investing in the future and in the transformation of our company. Store investment is important however, on its own, it is not sufficient to transform a traditional retailer into a retailer that’s more competitive in the 21st century.
That’s why we have invested hundreds of millions of dollars enabling over half of our stores with technology and tools such as tablets and handheld devices. Not all of these investments show up on the capital expenditure line of our financial statements. More than half of Sears’ stores are equipped with WiFi, which allows our associates and our Shop Your Way members to get information not available in stores such as product reviews, product comparisons and digital content. This helps our associates provide our members with all the information they need to make an informed purchase decision without having to leave the store.
Sears is an American icon and one of the country’s most storied brands. The men and women who are working so hard at our Sears and Kmart stores to help turn this business around are focused on getting it right. Our operational performance may have obscured the real traction we’re seeing in our Shop Your Way program and other aspects of our transformation, but it’s important for you to know that we are focused on improving the customer and member experience every day.