July 30, 2010, 4:35 PM

Sears will deliver for marketplace retailers

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

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.”

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