July 30, 2010, 4:35 PM

Sears will deliver for marketplace retailers

Chicago, Boston, Washington and New York City are the initial markets covered.

Zak Stambor

Managing Editor

Lead Photo

Sears Holdings Corp., which earlier this month began offering to parts of the Chicago area home delivery of groceries, prescriptions and other items from its mygofer.com e-commerce site, plans to announce Tuesday that it will expand that home delivery option to merchandise sold in its marketplace. The option will initially be available to consumers in the Chicago, Boston, Washington, D.C. and New York City areas.

The service will also allow consumers to buy online at Sears.com but pick up the order directly from either the marketplace merchant's Store or Sears stores.

“This is about saving time and providing added convenience to our customers,” Imran Jooma, general manager of e-commerce at Sears, No. 8 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, tells Internet Retailer.

To show consumers which products are available for local pickup or delivery, Sears has added a “Shop for items I need” tab at the top of its web site that allows the consumer to select “now,” “later today,” “tomorrow” or “anytime.” The site then instructs the consumer to enter her ZIP code to see whether eligible products are available.

After selecting local delivery, the consumer can choose to have the items delivered to her that day for a $14.99 delivery charge, according to a video on Sears.com. On the web site displayed in the video, below the charge, the site notes that adding additional items to the order will not increase the delivery fee. The site also features several recommended items under the upsell heading “Would you like to add more items to your order?” above the fields where the consumer can enter her home address and billing information.

Although the video features a specific delivery charge, Jooma notes that Sears plans to test various home delivery fee price points. “We will be testing a variety of options, as well as listening to our customers,” he says. “Based on that feedback, you can expect that we’ll make modifications to the pricing, if need be.”

To entice merchants to take up the offering, the retailer has posted on its site, “You can offer your customers same day pickup from any of your stores or in some markets—home delivery. No shipping. No hassles. And best of all, no additional fees for you.”

By promoting the local angle of its marketplace through the offering, Sears may find a way to set apart its marketplace from other large web marketplaces such as those operated by Amazon.com Inc., eBay Inc., Buy.com and Wal-Mart Stores Inc., says Scot Wingo, president and CEO of ChannelAdvisor Corp., which helps retailers sell through comparison shopping engines and online marketplaces.

“It’s a way to distinguish themselves,” he says. “It may be very appealing to be able to order groceries from one third party and flowers from another and have them delivered in one package. That’s very interesting.”

Comments | 2 Responses

  • Store retailers will prosper when they integrate their web site and store-based business into seamless retailing experience. I am impressed with how Sears is capitalizing on its local delivery system by extending it other retailers with a need for local distsribution of web orders. This is what retailers like Sears need to do to position themselves for the digital age while at the same time using the web to optimize the performance of their physical presence in the market. This is multi-channel retailing, and most big chains really aren't dedicated to the concept. (Congrats to Zak Stambor, one of our excellent young reporters, for breaking this story before anyone else).

  • We’re chuckling about Sears’ misguided initiative with providing home delivery for itself PLUS other retailers Having over 30 years direct industry experience and a patent for our ROOF (Rapid Online Order Fulfillment) system, we plainly see where Sears is already in deep trouble…and they have barely started. We often say we know at least 1,000 ways NOT to do ROOF…and Sears is now committing almost all of these classic experiences. (They’ve added a few we never dreamed of doing.) We were also saying the same thing while Webvan imploded several years ago…their business model was doomed from the start. The Good News is Sears and the others validate the strong need for our ROOF program from many aspects.

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