Hoffman Estates, IL—When you’re looking to strike a bargain on a “gently used” Chanel bag, a pre-owed Rolex watch or a pair of Balenciaga sunglasses, you might check Amazon’s Marketplace or even eBay, but Sears?
Well, the beleaguered retailer, hopes to improve its “cool factor” as well as make some money, by taking luxurygoods sold by third parties on the Marketplace section of it’s the Sears website.
So right along with the washer-dryers, lawn mowers and tools that Sears typically carries there were luxury products—though in far less evidence than on eBay.
According to a report in the Wall Street Journal, Sears’s Marketplace is the third-largest online vendor market by number of visits, though admittedly it trails the top two, Amazon and eBay, by a wide margin.
The initiative was part of a push by Edward Lampert, chairman/ceo of Sears Holdings, to increase the company’s online commerce to compete with majors. (97% of the company’s sales are still by in store). Since Lampert took over Sears in 2005 by combining it with Kmart, the company has been struggling. Losses over the last two years were more than $4 billion.
Besides those obstacles to overcome, Sears Marketplace may have to overcome the fact it is Sears, which apparently surprises many shoppers who wind up there from Internet searches. A Sears spokesperson told the Journal that every vendor undergoes a registration and approval process to ensure validity.
One of them, Allison Oseran of AJM Fashions, said Sears is definitely looking to change its image. So far, she’s sold $3,000 Alaia heel, a Michael Kors handbag, and is averaging 30 to 40 items a month via Sears
“We hope that they’re able to change their image,” Oseran added.