October 26, 2011, 3:57 PM

Sears localizes its online ads

Web shoppers can view discount prices on products in their preferred stores.

Lead Photo

A screenshot of the local digital ad for Chicago consumers.

Sears Holdings Corp. today introduced a digital ad tool that enables shoppers on its e-commerce site to find deals and prices for merchandise in nearby Sears and Kmart stores.

The “digital local ads” program functions like an online version of newspaper circulars, with the difference being that consumers can key in their ZIP codes to find deals, prices and products specific to certain stores.  “The new digital local ads allow us to customize promotional offers to local communities so we can better service our customers, while saving them time and money,” says Dave Friedman, corporate senior vice president and president of marketing.

The move by Sears follows an announcement earlier this month by Wal-Mart Stores Inc. of a new “My Local Walmart” application on Facebook that shows in-store promotions and events at local Wal-Mart stores. As with the Sears digital local ads, a shopper keys in her ZIP code to find the specific store for which she would like information.

Clicking into a Sears or Kmart digital local ad today reveals a cover page grid of 12 product images under the title “lowest prices of the season,” with most products catering to women and children. Featured products range from women’s intimate apparel and jewelry to kids’ fall styles and apparel for newborns. At top, in large blue lettering, is the text “Local Ad for Chicago/State St.,” the nearest Sears store to the Internet Retailer offices.

Mousing over each product square in the grid—think “Hollywood Squares” but with more boxes and no C-list celebrities—reveals a current price range, with the regular pricing crossed out (i.e., Kids’ sleepwear at $9.00 to $16.20, down from $20.00 to $36.00). The mouse-over image also lets the shopper click the menu tab in each product square to add products to a shopping list, which can then be printed out, e-mailed or texted to the shopper. The consumer also can share the product information via e-mail, Facebook, Twitter or Delicious, an online bookmarking service. The shopper also can click Quick View to see more product details, including the price discount as a percentage off.

Shoppers can also use either a drop-down menu or a slider tool above the product grid to choose additional ad pages that focus on other categories, such as Shoes, Lawn & Garden and Bed & Bath. Shoppers who participate in the retailer’s Shop Your Way Rewards loyalty program can sign up to receive e-mail alerts when new local ads are available. Sears is hosting the local ads for Sears stores at searslocalad.com and for Kmart stores at kmartlocalad.com.

Once featured products are no longer available in a local store, they will be automatically deleted from the local digital ads, the spokesman says.

Sears, which developed the local ad campaign in-house, will promote the local ads on Sears.com and Kmart.com as well as through ad networks that distribute digital versions of store advertising circulars, the spokesman says. “As we move ahead from this launch, you will see Internet search and local content site advertising as part of the marketing mix,” he says.

Sears is No. 7 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide

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