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Hi, I'm Kevin Coupe and this is FaceTime with the Content Guy.
Okay, get ready. I'm going to say something nice about Sears.
(No, that noise you heard was not hell freezing over, and if you look up, you won't see pigs flying across the morning sky...)
I probably haven't done any shopping at Sears in a decade. I go in occasionally, for professional reasons, but I would never think of buying anything there.
But in this case, there were not a ton of choices. We needed a new snowblower, and we wanted to get it before winter really kicked in. I hate snow, and there's a basic fact of life. If you own a snowblower, it won't snow. If you don't own one, you might as well be living above the Arctic Circle. You are screwed.
The old one was, I'm afraid, beyond repair. So I looked around online, and it ended up that Sears seemed to have the best rated snowblowers at the best price. But this was not the kind of purchase I wanted to make online, and besides, I couldn't have them delivering something to me that would require assembly. Some guys can do that. I'm not one of them.
So I drove up to the nearest Sears, about 25 miles away. I went into the Home & Garden department, where I met the nicest salesman, named Thada. He showed me the options, told me the price, and made a recommendation based on my description of the driveway. Then, because I wasn't quite ready to make a decision - because the snowblower was pretty expensive, we were sharing the purchase with two neighbors - he then sent me an email breaking down the options, the cost, and the availability.
I forwarded the email to my neighbors, they agreed, and then I called Thada and bought the machine. A few hours later, it was available for pickup at Sears, all assembled.
Now, here is where I thought things would get messy - because what were the odds that picking up the snowblower would be a pleasant experience?
I drove right up to the parcel pickup door, got out of my car and went inside. In about 30 seconds, a guy comes out and asks if he can help me. I gave him my name. He goes back inside, and in less than two minutes, he and another guy are out there with the fully assembled snowblower. They take it out to my car, load it into the back, get me to sign for it, and go back inside so fast there was no time to even tip them. The while process took about five minutes.
Now, it is true that I had two 25-mile trips to Sears. But that was my choice - I saw the value in making the trip. And when I was there, they were crisp, efficient, relevant and helpful. The product seems great ... though we haven;'t nearly enough snow so far to test it. And here I am, raving about the experience. I also know that I can get Sears to come to the house to service the machine anytime, which is important when you lack certain basic mechanical skills.
Listen, Sears has its troubles. But when it comes to a certain kind of shopping, it has the game down pat.
In this case, at least, Sears has a lot to teach other retailers about how to create a compelling shopping experience.
That's what is on my mind this Thursday morning. As always, I want to hear what is on your mind.
- KC's View: