Executive Briefings

'Dueling' Inventory Systems at Sears Threaten Sales

Poor Sears. On June 9, The Consumerist shared the story of a customer who went to a Sears store to exchange a faulty dehumidifier and was told the store was back-ordered on that model and couldn't swap the lemon for another one. The customer got his refund, went home, ordered the same model for in-store pickup, got his e-mail confirmation, returned to the store and collected the dehumidifier. The customer's conclusion: "And that's why I try to avoid Sears."

It's easy to knock Sears, with its long history of making customers unhappy with out-of-stock items, whether they were actually out of stock or not. (In a comment to The Consumerist post, a Sears representative blamed the associate for being unable to find the item in stock, then lied to cover his incompetence.) On the other hand, maybe the problem isn't as human-centric as that. It could be that Sears' dueling inventory systems are to blame.

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Poor Sears. On June 9, The Consumerist shared the story of a customer who went to a Sears store to exchange a faulty dehumidifier and was told the store was back-ordered on that model and couldn't swap the lemon for another one. The customer got his refund, went home, ordered the same model for in-store pickup, got his e-mail confirmation, returned to the store and collected the dehumidifier. The customer's conclusion: "And that's why I try to avoid Sears."

It's easy to knock Sears, with its long history of making customers unhappy with out-of-stock items, whether they were actually out of stock or not. (In a comment to The Consumerist post, a Sears representative blamed the associate for being unable to find the item in stock, then lied to cover his incompetence.) On the other hand, maybe the problem isn't as human-centric as that. It could be that Sears' dueling inventory systems are to blame.

Read Full Article