The new SEARS guest Creator (customer) values history, autonomy, and making. They expect a seamless online/offline experience. They discover new experiences through social networks and expect to have a curated interaction with the brands they grow relationships with.
HOW CAN I HELP YOU?
At every level of the SEARS experience, the first words from anyone’s lips should be, “How can I help you?” Sears was founded to help farmers get high-quality goods, easily, and at reasonable prices. Today’s SEARS customer feels they are not being helped or cared for. The only way to foster this caring is to start with the staff. And not just the line staff, all staff. The new internal motto for SEARS should be, “How can I help?” It may be in how you answer the phone, your email signature, or how you start meetings. It may also be adopted by your online support and retail staff. Sears is now in the business of facilitating experiences.
SEARS GENERATIONS GALLERY
SEARS has a long and largely ignored history that make it one of the only businesses to have endured generations of service. In each and every SEARS store, this history should be celebrated with mini-galleries. These galleries, near the entrance, will entice millennials and their influencers. As you can see from the research, millennials crave authenticity. They also see themselves as makers. If they can identify with the maker culture inside sears, they will become your loyal collaborators.
STORES KNOW CREATORS BEST
The SEARS staff Creator values mastery and purpose. They expect to spend their time doing something that will enable learning and growth while helping others. To facilitate this, SEARS must allow store managers to make as many decisions as possible about what to order and how to place it within the store. All stores should be immediately resized to accommodate only the best display. False walls and moving store fixtures can create a team creator inspired shopping experience for the guests. Only those merchandise that are in the best condition should be displayed. We saw one image of a store that had so many refrigerators, they were angled to fit into the space provided. The local staff creator should have the autonomy to display only in the best most accessible way. Additional competitor analysis suggests this trend is already underway at other retailers.
We saw evidence of this attitude in several store staff. View in appendix
“I really love playing with all the appliances. People love to see how they work.” ~Adam in Cambridge
BACK TO NEAR TERM
The new sears product policy should prioritize durability, function, and form, over price. Sears is still known as the place where you would shop to find those items you expect to endure. An informant who years later purchased a Sears home, said he could still see the instruction numbers on the rafters. To him, these numbers spelled quality and function.
ONLY THE BEST, LIQUIDATE THE REST
In order to quickly reach your target customer, you need to immediately stock only the best quality items and liquidate the rest. Stocking the best should be easy, given the kind and variety of products already in stores and warehouses. You can liquidate the rest by giving employees and their families demonstration products, by holding in-store raffles and contests, and by donating (more on this in Passion Engine).
Imagine a neatly stocked store where every item that is touched has the feel of durability and quality.
TOUGHSKIN DIEHARD CRAFTSMAN
Sears has lost touch with its family of innovators and designers. You should immediately team up with American designers and Makers to create new product offerings. Using the Galleries as a launch point, you should be able to hold innovation contests and other community-based activities that re-affirm your brand as a knowledgeable and helping partner in the business of helping people realize their concepts.
Imagine getting the idea for a new kind of drill from a nineteen-year-old customer who happened by the store for an Innovation Saturday.
CREATIVE BUNDLES SELL EXPERIENCE
In the first step toward the transition away from selling a product to a CUSTOMER and transition toward facilitating an experience with a CREATOR, Sears should allow its store staff to offer creative bundles of goods and services. Your line staff knows the customer better. They can create and package innovative product bundles.
Imagine walking into the housewares department and seeing a fully outfitted kitchen and bar, complete with party favors and the guest’s wardrobe.
Or imagine an “Off to College” package containing a complete kit for what a young person will need for their dorm.
BACK TO NEAR TERM
The new SEARS customer craves to interact with people and business that have a stake or a stand. Going solar, going around the world, going for broke? It doesn’t matter. In the mind and the pocketbook of the Millennial, your brand needs to take a stance.
SEARS IS EXPERIENCE
You’ve already got it, you just need to flaunt it. Imagine “Sears was there when.” advertising series. This brand equity is currently going to waste attempting to beat competitors on price and availability. If you can tell your history, you will gain credibility with your target audience.
AMERICAN INNOVATION RENEWED
Sears announces that all closed retail stores will now become solar power generation stations. This is a bold statement that will bring SEARS back to relevancy. It will also rejuvenate the new suburban squalor endemic to America.
Imagine a row of Teslas and Volts parked at Sears drawing totally green power from the building.
STAND FOR SOMETHING OR STEP ASIDE
Sears staff and leadership need to isolate and get behind two or three huge initiatives. You need to leverage your partnerships with suppliers and complementors to build on these initiatives. Individuals need organizations to take a stand, because no one can do it alone.
BACK TO NEAR TERM