Sears has been on a steady decline for quite some time and they have just released news that they have a new merchandising officer. They have lured Brookstone CEO, Ron Boire, to fill this invented position under the guise that a focus on merchandise will help the struggling brand. We can learn from some of Sears’s mistakes and here’s how.
Find your voice and stay true to it
The thing that strikes me the most about Sears is how it has managed to lose its reputation and confuse the people that shop there. When I was a girl (I know I’m dating myself here) we went to Sears when we were going to buy a new stove, dishwasher or washer machine. When my son was a baby, I noticed that they had begun the foray into selling clothes and let’s be honest-it was never their thing. If I wanted appliances I went to Sears, if I wanted clothing I went somewhere else. They have always been the appliance store and that’s what they should stick with because that’s what they used to be good at. Find your voice and stick to it.
Know your customers
One of the recent tactics Sears used to increase sales was signing the Kardashian clan to create a clothing line. The problem with using pop culture in your business is that you have to actually know about pop culture for it to be successful; the average Sears shopper does not take the Kardashians seriously. Sear’s relationship with the Kardashian’s further alienated their customer base. Most of the customers shopping at Sears are family oriented and had Sears considered this before they made the decision to sign reality stars they would have realized that hard working people would have been offended by a role model of excess. So before you have to discount your services or products by 30%, remember knowing your customer means more than knowing what they buy. It means knowing how they live and what their values are.
Have a game plan
Have you noticed that Sears seems to be perpetually playing catch up? It’s because they are. You have to know your competitors, study their strategies and actually come up with your own strategy that is not based on reactions. A strategy is a roadmap for the company and it tells your staff where they are heading and how you plan to get there. Sears seems to be picking up parts of competitors strategies and these parts don’t work for what they are hocking.
Many companies lose their way when they have to evolve, but the evolution of your business can create a roadmap for success. Growth means paying attention and realizing just because you’ve been the leader in the past doesn’t mean you will be the leader in the future. You aren’t promised success, but you are invited to the game. So show up!