May 21, 2002, 12:00 AM

Sears, Lands’ End face challenge of pleasing disparate bases, Harris says

Sears and Lands’ End will have to be careful not to alienate their core markets, which are significantly different from each other, once the two start marketing together, new research from Harris Interactive shows.

Kurt Peters

Executive Editor

While analysts generally applauded Sears, Roebuck and Co.’s announced acquisition last week of Lands’ End Inc. as a way for both companies to expand their markets, both will have to be careful not to alienate their core markets, which are significantly different from each other, once the two start marketing together, new research from Harris Interactive shows.

The April 2002 Harris Interactive eCommercePulse online survey of 2,146 Internet users revealed that LandsEnd.com shoppers are better educated and more affluent than Sears.com apparel shoppers, LandsEnd.com shoppers are more Internet savvy and are more likely to make their purchases online than Sears.com shoppers and LandsEnd.com shoppers give the web site higher marks than Sears.com shoppers give Sears.com.

Harris Interactive surveyed shoppers at each site (whether they bought online, offline or not at all) and reports the following characteristics:

 

Harris Interactive reports the following characteristics about shoppers at each site:
Who the shoppers are: Landsend.com Sears.com
Post-graduate degree 27% 11%
Household income over $75,000 38% 26%
Accessed the Internet    
More than 5 years ago 77% 64%
Made first purchase on the Internet more than 5 years ago 27% 19%
Purchase products on the    
Internet more than once per month 56% 45%
Also shopped at Sears.com 12% -
Also shopped at Landsend.com - 17%
     
Satisfaction Landsend.com Sears.com
Ease of use 8.44 7.94
Information available 8.54 7.89
Product selection 8.44 7.78
Overall satisfaction 8.42 8
 
*Satisfaction is measured on a scale from 1-10 were 1 is completely dissatisfied and 10 is completely satisfied.

 

While applauding the acquisition for the retail distribution that Lands’ End achieves and the high-quality catalog and Internet operation that Sears will acquire, Lori Iventosch-James, director of e-commerce research at Harris Interactive, said, “There is some risk of alienating each retailer`s core clientele if their cross-channel marketing strategy is not well implemented."

 

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