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Sears to Expand Appliance Marketing on Web Site
Sep 26, 2003
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Appliance retailer said that it will expand its marketing of appliances on its web site.

Speaking to a group at the Shop.org online retail conference in New York, Chief Executive Alan Lacy said will relaunch its site, one of the oldest retail sites on line - with a new look, deeper lines of merchandise and innovative navigational tools.

Online has become a key piece of Sears' efforts to recharge sales of its big appliances and hold on to the 38-percent market share it now enjoys. The company has stepped up marketing for washing machines, dryers, and refrigerators as competition from such big-box retailers as Best Buy and Home Depot has swelled.

Sears has found that customers have relied on information from the retailer's web site for one out of every five appliance purchases in an full-line store. About 15 percent of all Sears' store purchases are researched at the Sears.com site first.

Bill Bass, vice president and general manager of Sears' catalog and Internet operations, said the new site will allow shoppers to find their way quickly among, say, the 3,500 appliances the company sells. At the same time, it will supply them with five-times more information as the site has carried. In appliances, for example, Sears will be only the site where consumers can find pictures and information for all the top six brands.

The site also will let customers search for products based on colors, or size, rather than just categories or brands. They'll also see multiple views of items - a refrigerator with the doors closed, the doors open and side shots, Mr. Bass said.

Among the new features is a good-better-best comparison listing for big appliances. With that, consumers will be able to see quickly and clearly what the difference is in price for a new dishwasher, for example, with all the latest bells and whistles compared to the basic model.

"That helps people see what they're missing if they don't buy the top end and it helps drive a decision quicker," Mr. Bass said.

Sears also said that information on 900 of the company's most popular home electronics items will be available in Spanish. (CBS Marketwatch.com)

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