The Future Of Sears And Kmart Depends On Cross-Selling, And They Suck At It

It’s Christmas tree buying season! Alan and his wife shopped around and found a spiffy fake spruce on Sears’ website. “In stock from Kmart,” said the Sears website. Well, then, they’re part of the same company: it shouldn’t be difficult at all to go to Kmart and get them to match the Sears price. Right?

If you said “Wrong,” well done! You’ve been reading this site regularly. Alan sent this letter recounting his experience to Sears and to Kmart.

To Whom It May Concern:

I wanted to express how deeply unacceptable my recent Sears / Kmart shopping experience was. Friday evening, after some online shopping my wife and I found a new artificial Christmas tree we liked on sale for 139.99 on the Sears website. The web site said, “in stock from Kmart”. Because Sears is near us, I gave them a call to check if they had it in stock. They didn’t, but they did confirm that the Kmart across town had it in stock. My wife and I drove to the Kmart and found the tree in stock, but with only one exception, it had the price of 187.59.

I asked an older gentleman that was working there if they would honor the Kmart website price, (I had it pulled up on my phone to show him). While sounding unsure of himself, he said he didn’t believe Kmart did price matches at all. Because he sounded so unsure of himself, I ended up asking a younger female associate who said that they should be able to do that, but wanted to double check first. She ended up going to the first older gentleman who repeated himself.

I decided to go to the customer service desk to ask. The lady there originally said yes, they should be able to do that, but had to check with the manager first. She called the manager who then clarified they wouldn’t honor the website price.

Being frustrated with the whole process, I asked if I just order it online with my phone and use the “free ship to store” could I leave with the tree they had in stock. This really seemed to confuse the lady who ended up saying no, I would have to wait until they got one shipped to the store and it would be a few days. I was so blown away by the sheer idiocracy that I ended leaving.

Because it was the tree my wife liked, we ended up ordering it online at the 139.99 price with free shipping to the house. Because Sears / Kmart failed at a pretty basic common sense task, instead of having a satisfied customer, you have a potential customer who will likely avoid the Kmart/Sears brand in the future.