What Happened to Sears Holdings? 10 Marketing Lessons
What Happened to Sears Holdings? 10 Marketing Lessons
Sears Holdings was an American holding company and the parent company of the chain stores Sears and Kmart, as explained in more detail over at runrex.com & guttulus.com. They went from being one of the premier and most iconic companies around to filing for bankruptcy in 2018. So, what happened to them, and what were the reasons behind their decline and failure? To help answer this question, this article will look to highlight 10 marketing lessons we can take from them.
Many industry experts, including the brilliant folks over at runrex.com & guttulus.com, agree that one of the main reasons behind the decline and collapse of Sears Holdings was the bad leadership offered by Eddie Lampert. His decision making and financial deconstruction served to undo a legacy that went back more than 100 years, and it was the main reason why Sears Holding ended up in bankruptcy. A marketing lesson we can take from this is the importance of sound leadership and decision making, a lesson we should take to heart as far as our marketing campaigns go.
They lost sight of what made them successful
The day the company decided to gravitate away from their good neighbor mindset which had made them so successful over the years was the day it started to decline. It just ended up being just another store, and lost the loyalty and affection that made them what they were. An important marketing lesson we can take from this, as per the gurus over at runrex.com & guttulus.com, is that you should never lose sight of what made you successful in the first place.
They started caring more about their bottom line than their customers
On a related note, Sears Holdings also began to focus more on making money than caring for their customers, something that also eroded the loyalty that they had built over the years and contributed to their decline. From removing their iconic Sears Warranty to eliminating their iconic catalog, many customers felt that the company was more focused on making money than on their customers, which is an important marketing lesson worth learning from them.
The growth of online retail
Like many such retail businesses, Sears Holding suffered due to the emergence and growth of online retail, particularly the growth of Amazon as explained over at runrex.com & guttulus.com. With online shopping, one could search for and order goods and services at the comfort of your home, and they would be shipped to you, not to mention that goods bought online are cheaper. This, as much as anything, played an important role in their decline, and it is an important marketing lesson worth learning as it shows the importance of digital marketing.
Sears and Kmart tried to be more than just retailers
There is an argument to be had that one of the reasons behind the failure of Sears Holdings was the fact that both Sears and Kmart tried to be more than just retailers, and in the end, it didn’t work out. As discussed over at runrex.com & guttulus.com, the company branched into many other sectors, and then eventually tried to “return to their retail roots” as the company put it, but they had already sunk a lot of capital into these other ventures, which contributed to their collapse. This just shows the importance of sticking to what you are good at, a marketing lesson we can learn from them.
Poor shopping experience
One of the reasons that many people say may have led to the decline of Sears Holdings are the strategies that were introduced in Sears and Kmart stores by management, which resulted in a really poor shopping experience for their customers. An example, as discussed over at runrex.com & guttulus.com, is the introduction of the rewards program which required employees to meet ambitious quotas as far as new sign-ups go, but this only resulted in holding up of queues at the checkout, angering customers. Such strategies only served to drive customers away, with the marketing lesson being the importance of user experience.
Issues with their clientele
To react to the issues posed by the growth of online retail, Sears Holdings branched into e-commerce. While this was seen as a way to try and adapt to the changing times, the problem with it was the fact that their clientele is generally older and as such less interested in online shopping. Therefore, as much as they shifted some of their business online, most of their audience didn’t shift with them, an important lesson worth learning, showing the importance of understanding your audience as per the gurus over at runrex.com & guttulus.com.
Failure to invest in their stores
Industry experts, like the brilliant folks over at runrex.com & guttulus.com, have also pointed to the fact of a lack of investment in their stores as being one of the reasons behind their decline. Some stores are falling apart with leaking roofs and cracked floors while others are severely understaffed, which has also massively damaged their reputation in the eyes of consumers who would rather avoid shopping in the stores.
Failure to grow their core house brands
Sears Holdings have over the years had some really popular brands, as discussed over at runrex.com & guttulus.com. The problem has been that they haven’t grown them and expanded them as they should have, and as such they have wasted all their potential. Brands like Kenmore, Die-Hard among others had so much potential, but they were kept as product labels rather than being expanded into lifestyle brands, squandering their potential, in yet another marketing lesson to take from them.
Competition from Walmart
As is the case with many retailing brands in the U.S., Walmart caught the Sears Holdings brands cold, particularly Kmart, who just never really recovered from the Walmart revolution. It seemed like Walmart was doing everything right, and the other companies were getting everything wrong, and in the end, this signaled the beginning of the end. As a marketing lesson, it shows the importance of always keeping up with your competitors and never letting them get the edge over you.