April 8, 2010, 12:00 AM

Sears packs its redesigned e-commerce site with new features

Sears added six expandable icons including a mini-cart, profile, wish lists and recently viewed items, to its web sites in February. The additions are the latest in a string of initiatives aimed at simplifying the online shopping experience, Sears says.

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Sears Holdings Corp. is on a mission to make it easier for customers to shop, says Imran Jooma senior vice president and general manager, e-commerce.

That’s what led the company to add six ever-present expandable icons-a mini-cart, profile, wish lists, recently viewed items, personal shopper and a toolbox that consumers can use to customize the site-to its various web sites in February. When a shopper mouses over the recently viewed icon, for instance, it expands to show her a photo, product name and price, of the last four product pages she viewed across each of Sears’ web sites.

Sears, No. 7 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, also overhauled its category and product pages.

Category pages now offer shoppers the ability to shop by product and brand, while highlighting related links such as “See this week’s ad.” When a shopper clicks on a category, such as “bottoms,” she is taken to a page with a gallery view, as well as options at the top of the page that let her further narrow her selection, such as by, jeans, shorts and pants. The drill-down choices continue with the option to choose to shop from Kmart.com, Sears.com or outside merchants that sell through the Sears Marketplace that Sears introduced last year. Or consumers can shop by material, price and user rating.

“We listened to what our customers were asking for in the MySears community and we provided the tools that make it easier to shop,” Jooma says.

The retailer’s sites also prominently display Sears’ buy online, pickup in-store option, five mobile apps, its robust MySears community of more than 464,000 members and the Sears Marketplace where other merchants sell their merchandise on Sears.com. They also promote mygofer, a hybrid online/bricks-and-mortar experiment that allows shoppers to buy online and pickup their orders at a Kmart store in the Chicago suburbs that has been converted into a drive-through warehouse.

“Our customers have different needs,” he says. “So regardless of what they’re looking for, we want them to be able to shop however they want, whenever they want and wherever they want to shop,” Jooma says.

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