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Sears Embraces Online for Offline with in Store WiFi and iPad Access

A few weeks ago, I went to Best Buy to purchase a new printer. We got it down to two options and wanted to compare the specs but a lot of the information was missing from the shelf tag.

Next best thing, ask the salesman, who politely suggested we could find that information online. Good idea, except that my favorite electronics retailer doesn’t offer free in-store WiFi and 3G connection within their walls is spotty and highly reliant on standing in exactly the right spot.

How sad is it when technology retailer can’t get the tech right?

Enter Sears, America’s die-hard, age-old, retail institution. This holiday season, they’ll not only be offering free WiFi at many of their locations, they’ll be encouraging shoppers to go online while shopping in their stores.

Mobile Marketer reports that Sears will also be placing iPads and iPod Touch units in nearly 450 retail locations to help shoppers bridge the online / offline gap.

Joy Liuzzo, senior director of mobile research at InsightExpress is quoted as saying:

“These devices will allow floor sales people to engage with customers right where they are standing, sharing the screen rather than having a monitor in between them. It’s another way to break down barriers and make the sales process better for everyone involved.”

Smart move, Sears. Getting a customer into a conversation with a salesperson is a huge step toward closing the sale.  Particularly at holiday time, shoppers are short on money, time and patience. It’s also when they’re shopping for items that don’t know anything about. “My son wants this video game I’ve never heard of. . .   ”

With an iPad in hand, the salesperson can show off the benefits of a product, access product details, online reviews and prove that Sears really does have the lowest price. What more could you want in a shopping experience?