Monday, August 24, 2015

Deciphering the "Shop Your Way" approach

Kmart talks "asset light" and "member-centric" while removing services

I stopped in at Kmart to buy a shirt.

And I discovered they'd removed the walk-up electronic price scanners that helped shoppers verify item prices and discounts. I now needed to wander the floor, hoping to uncover an employee with a pricing gun. Good luck with finding floor personnel at any Kmart.

Really? At a time when retailers should be doing everything to build engagement with consumers, Kmart is removing most of its ways to deliver value to customers. Seems counter-intuitive to a retailer that touts a "Shop Your Way" connection with customers. 

No store generates more paper at the register
than Kmart. (c) DKassnoff
At the checkout, the cashier announced to a fellow clerk, "I'm clocking out at five," before handing me a wad of auto-printed coupons and promotions. Five slips of junk for products I'd never buy.

If there's a PR strategy behind this, it's very well hidden. 

Edward Lampert, the Kmart/Sears CEO, is quoted in recent news releases, talking about the effort to "transform (Kmart/Sears) from a traditional, store-network based retail business model to a more asset-light, member-centric integrated retailer leveraging our Shop Your Way platform." 

"Asset-light" means closing and selling off low-performing stores. Removing most of the consumer electronics department. And ripping out fully-amortized price-checkers that helped consumers make purchase decisions. 

"Member-centric" means extracting data from customers in exchange for inane slips of paper that reflect zero regard for customer relationship management.

I bought the shirt. But whatever "Shop Your Way" means to Lampert, it's unlikely to get me back into that store anytime soon.