Sears, not the internet's fault

Discussion in 'General Off Topic Forums' started by invaderzim, Jan 8, 2019.

  1. invaderzim

    invaderzim AK Subscriber Subscriber

    I heard a news headline this morning talking about Sears being a victim of the internet. What a lazy way for the people to say "It isn't our fault"

    Let's look back at Sears problems beyond the internet.

    They bought Lands End for $1,900,000,000.00. Lands End was a company with a reputation for quality goods at much higher prices than Sears sold items for. Sears then dedicated large portions of their stores to Lands End; even making you buy the items from special Lands End checkout areas. Sears then went to their own suppliers to have them make the Lands End items at greatly reduced costs and lower quality but still charged the higher prices. They killed the reputation of Lands End all because some geniuses at Sears thought that Lands End was stupid for paying for quality products. But they still had the expense of changing the stores and lost space from their regular products and Sears customers had sticker shock at the prices of the Lands End items.

    They cut a deal with the Kardashians for a clothing line and again designated a big chunk of their store for just that merchandise. All with the hope of proving that "You can't dress trashy till you spend a lot of money". Turns out fans of the Kardashians don't tend to shop at Sears and bad clothing styles didn't bring them into the store. It ended up being a second instance of alienating their regular customers.

    I can see that they needed to improve their image. A lot of people that would have no problem saying "I bought it at Walmart" likely wouldn't admit to shopping at Sears. But come on, who in their right mind thought either of those two things would improve their image?
    Maybe a little thought should have been given to actually getting some name brand shoes and other similar items into the stores.

    They then took a statistic that said 70% of people that were members of their rewards program visit the store frequently to mean that everyone that they get to join their program will automatically start visiting their stores more often. They didn't even think for a second that the statistic was the other way around and that people who visited their stores frequently tended to be members of the rewards program. So they went militant on getting people to join. They would actually berate customers for not joining the rewards program. Stopping the checkout process to just stand and stare at the customer with statements like: "I just don't understand why you don't want to save money"

    I'm sure some consultants told them that piling stuff in the middle of the isles would increase their sales and I'm guessing they did sell some of the piled up items. The problem is if you make it difficult to walk through a store I will just stop walking through it. Then there is no chance of finding things to buy. Even if I do walk through the store if I have to pay attention to winding my way through piles of junk and salespeople standing around then I'm not looking to the side where the real merchandise they want to sell is. That completely cuts down on spur of the moment purchases.

    They tried to copy Amazon's marketplace with by adding multiple other vendors but it just ended up being a confusing mish-mash of merchandise from questionable sources. Then they wouldn't give you the Sears online price in the store unless you ordered it for pick-up. A recent purchase at a local store that was closing during its final 7 days ended up being 20% higher than if I'd ordered it online and picked it up at a store that wasn't closing. What genius doesn't think it is a good idea if a customer finds something on their site but still comes into the store to purchase it where they might find more things to buy.

    Sears wasn't killed by the internet; Sears drove people to the internet.
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  2. luvvinvinyl

    luvvinvinyl Lily! Staff Member Admin Subscriber

    South of Detroit
    There is a whole lot more to the story. Eddie Lampert made KKR and Bain Capital look like philanthropists.
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  3. Me Tarzan

    Me Tarzan EARTH

    Sears was the closest thing to the internet 100 years before the internet with their ubiquitous mail order catalog in every outhouse and on every coffee table. They were ahead of the times and failed to keep up with the times. They could have been Amazon if they had the vision.
  4. hjames

    hjames ... SPRING forward? Where's that Cake? Staff Member Moderator Subscriber

    VA near DC
    They killed one of the big brands - I grew up with my Daddie's Craftsman tools
    - Sears offshored them and turned the quality to junk.
    They killed the car shops when they ruined Diehard batteries.
    With no tool and no batteries, I had no need to go there anymore!
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  5. RamblinE

    RamblinE (╯°□°)╯彡┻━┻

    Millennial here. Very disappointed to have to take Sears off the list of companies I helped kill.
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  6. techguy0192

    techguy0192 Keep McIntosh amps carbon fiber free! Subscriber

    They were ahead of Amazon, but totally blew the opportunity. Many people forget or are unaware that Sears was a major investor behind Prodigy (online service) back in 1984.
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  7. quaddriver

    quaddriver 120 What's per channel Subscriber

    nah, evidence shows otherwise. the internet, happened on its own and it was mostly driven by the online bookstore (amazon) that engaged in sales of everything.

    people, have shown over and over they prefer to shop online. now every single item, including health care, is available online. most popular is consumer goods obviously - that business grows at double digits every year with no plateau in sight. now they have added food (note that EVERY grocery chain has internet shopping for pickup or deliver), cars, durable goods and of course as mentioned, healthcare.

    90% of the infallible department stores have already fallen, been bought up. what consists of macys today (who is failing, has scant chance and is due a large debt payment) is most of the names everyone reading this recall. macys purchases made lands end look like a sheetz hotdog run AND what they purchased no longer exists in any shape or form or balance sheet item. Its like paying a $20Bn tax every 5 years.

    IERC, there were 4 (I previously reported it as 3) store chains that not only had a B&M presence, but also ran a catalog operation that was, not could be, not mebbe, but was the internet before the internet was invented by algore. Instead of 3 minutes, it took 2 weeks. consider the fate:

    Montgomery ward defunct in 1993
    Western Auto - bought by sears, destroyed, the remants sold and absorbed into advance auto parts in 1998 and then the brand de-registered in 2003 (leaving off WA was a brain fart, I have been selling WA catalogs and catalog items in my antique stores for high onto a decade and it never dawned on me)
    Sears...well known - filed for reorg, but the landlords have filed for liquidation and will get their way in 14 days or so
    Jc Penneys - filing for reorg 1Q19, mebbe early 2Q, liquidation by 4Q19 I had posted an at length analysis of pennys a month ago and how they are showing an online business, but are running it exactly backwards as to how they should when they have B&M and as a result have almost all cash tied up in physical inventory in expensive stores, selling right now, up to 90% off (women take note: if you can stand a blouse being 6 months off the trend, $5 beats $50 any day of the week)

    btw - in your last paragraph you outlined the same problem I did a month ago re: penneys.

    people went to the internet because they are lazy. Sears has not been a presence in the last 25 years enough to have any influence.
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  8. invaderzim

    invaderzim AK Subscriber Subscriber

    I'm sure there are a lot more stupid decisions they made along the way that I haven't noticed
  9. quaddriver

    quaddriver 120 What's per channel Subscriber

    not I, I joined IBM when it was trintex and P* used the OS I worked on as the file server. we got it for free---until the billing changed to per/minute and we all bailed for AOL 2.something (often running on OS2!

  10. zebra03

    zebra03 All Audio - NO BS

    West of Weedville
    In my area , every Sears and K-Mart when down hill after Walmart showed up .
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  11. toxcrusadr

    toxcrusadr Omelette au Fromage Subscriber

    Central Missouri
    ^^ Ain't that the truth!

    I remember Sears starting to lose ground probably 20 years ago at least, when it was cumbersome to buy things, they had old fashioned price stickers when everyone else had gone to scanning, etc. Saw the signs that they were not keeping up with the times, well before Amazon.

    They sure were a solid place to get appliances and tools though, back in the day. Still using our 1991 washer and dryer, freezer and refrigerator, all Kenmore. Last summer I went into Sears looking for gas ranges, and their selection of appliances was so paltry and so cheap looking compared to competitors that I was saddened. But they were already on the slippery slope.

    :bye: :(

    BTW if anyone has one of those huge catalogues laying around, I'd like to put one in a glass case in my outhouse with a little hammer and an 'In Case of Emergency' sign on it. :D You think I'm joking but I'm not.
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  12. FONSguy

    FONSguy Super Member

    Sterling, VA
    So as they go into liquidation those shirt shelves might be bought and used as LP shelves. I'm looking into some 6 foot tall glass disp1ay cases for all my science fiction models.
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  13. savatage1973

    savatage1973 AK Subscriber Subscriber

    NW Pennsylvania snow belt
    Sears did this to themselves--as others have mentioned (here and on many other venues/media), they could have been Amazon.They just "dropped the ball"--in the biggest kind of way.

    Guess I'll have to stash all my old Craftsman tools and Kenmore appliances--you know, the "vintage" market ;)
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  14. invaderzim

    invaderzim AK Subscriber Subscriber

    And not one of those said "Wait, a minute. We've done mail order before. But with the new technology we can greatly improve it. We already have locations all over the country that the orders could ship from and be to customers in 1-2 days by ground shipping"

    And that is what so many retailers don't understand. They aren't competing on price with the internet they are competing on convenience. And yet a lot of retailers make it harder and harder to just buy something and leave their store. Not only did they drop the ball on selling online they made it more annoying to shop in person. Our entire Sears store has 2 cash registers and the line wraps down the regular isle so you have to wind your way through the racks to get out of the store.

    I've noticed lately that more and more are finally just saying "no problem, if you want to sign up you can at any time for free" when I say no thank you to a rewards card with them. A great improvement over the lengthy "do you have our credit card? You could save money. How about our debit card? It isn't a credit card if you are worried about that. Do you have our rewards card? Let me tell you more about each. How stupid are you that you don't have those? Seriously, you really should get them right now. Are you a moron or something?"
    I have walked out of stores and left the merchandise on the counter multiple times before because they just wouldn't move past that.

    But then again I have a boss that says that customers don't care if it takes 3 or 4 days for an order to ship out to them. No matter how much I tell him if it was delivered in 3 or 4 days it would typically be considered late and if it hasn't left the warehouse in 3-4 days the customer will not be back.
  15. jbrainey

    jbrainey AK Subscriber Subscriber

    I get my mail in Tennessee
    Too bad...I had planned to go back and buy some new Sears "Toughskins" jeans if my "vintage" 50 year old ones ever wear out. Maybe in another 50 years?
  16. kaplang

    kaplang Works for me ! Subscriber

    Last year I replaced an older set of Craftsman screwdrivers with a new set. The difference in quality was very obvious. The new set is more China junk
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  17. skbubba

    skbubba New Member

    A few months ago we went to JC Penney for something or other. I noticed a pair of pants I liked. They were $60. I checked their website on my cellphone to see if there were any coupons or sales, etc. There weren't, but I noticed the same pants online for $35. I took the pants to the register and showed them the online price and asked if they would honor it. They said they couldn't do that because policy and whatnot. I really liked the pants and they were the exact right size so I bought them anyway.

    When we got to the car, I told the Mrs. you know, that's stupid to pay almost double for those pants. I'm sorry. I'm going to return them and order them online. I went back inside and as I was returning them I mentioned again (different clerk) about the online price but they still wouldn't they honor it. They gave me a refund and I ordered the pants online. When I got them, they were the wrong color. I also noticed they had been shipped from the VERY SAME STORE I tried to buy from originally. Anyway, I gave up and returned them. To the same store.

    I e-mailed the JCP CEO and told my story, and suggested that this was a stupid policy that not only cost them a sale it also cost them the labor and expense of processing two returns, restocking, plus filling an online order and shipping it. I said I thought their employees should be more empowered to satisfy customers, especially for what seemed like a reasonable expectation/request.

    A few weeks later I got an email from a nice lady in Customer relations. She was sorry about my bad experience and offered me a free pair of pants.

    I replied that I was NOT LOOKING TO SCORE A FREE PAIR OF PANTS, but rather hoping they would review their policies and empower their employees.

    Never heard back.

    P.S. Forgot to mention that I told the CEO in my email that we had been loyal customers for more than 45 years, because they gave us our first credit card when we were first married and dirt poor and it bailed us out a bunch of times. I said we never forgot it and that it was sad to see what was happening to his company. They didn't seem to care. Well, they did offer a free pair of pants.
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2019
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  18. toxcrusadr

    toxcrusadr Omelette au Fromage Subscriber

    Central Missouri
    That story is funny and sad at the same time.

    I have often made comments to businesses (and my own organization for that matter) not in hopes of getting free stuff, but instead hoping they would see the light. Only happens a small fraction of the time.
    rickb119 and John James like this.
  19. Tom Brennan

    Tom Brennan AK Member

    San Antonio
    No lie.
  20. Mamrak1

    Mamrak1 AK Subscriber Subscriber

    From what I am reading online, Sears doesn’t give a crap about trying to sell products anymore. The real estate holdings are what is worth big money. Sears wants to make profit from those buildings by selling or leasing them out.

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