Kmart touts online programs, new lines

HOFFMAN ESTATES, IL: Kmart is focusing on a new in-store pick-up program, doing social media and online outreach, and raising awareness for its new Casa Cristina line, all leading up to the holiday season this year.

HOFFMAN ESTATES, IL: Kmart is focusing on a new in-store pick-up program, doing social media and online outreach, and raising awareness for its new Casa Cristina line, all leading up to the holiday season this year.

"We know that this holiday season will be just as competitive as last year," said Kmart CMO Mark Snyder. "What we know about our customer, they are weary about hearing about the recession. She feels validated with the approach she's used, creating her own economy with the family over the past two years."

Reaching out to families and mothers, Kmart continues to promote layaway and is partnering with Café Mom to promote its new program where customers can order online and pick up in-store. Additionally, the retailer plans to launch a website, where consumers can share their holiday stories and traditions, and push that to mommy bloggers.

After a strong back-to-school season, with the launches of seven new apparel brands, the retailer will continue to promote those lines around the holiday season. A new bed and bath line for both Sears and Kmart, Casa Cristina, launched the last week of September with media events promoting the face behind the line: Cuban-American talk show host Cristina Saralegui. Kmart will continue to promote the new line throughout the holidays, reaching out beyond the Hispanic community, Snyder said.

"Our strategy is to launch it in the general market and Hispanic community as well," said Shannelle Armstrong, director of PR for Sears Holdings. The company invited Spanish- and English-language media to the launch event in New York, where, Armstrong said, "we wanted to give the media an opportunity to meet Christina so she can explain her inspiration."

Online, Kmart is using blogger relations and social media such as Facebook and Twitter to build awareness for the new line among consumers. Flowers Communications Group, the multicultural agency for Sears Holdings, is working to raise awareness in the multicultural market, while Euro RSCG Worldwide PR oversees the rest of Kmart's PR and outreach. The company is also introducing the line to bloggers at the Blogalicious conference October 8-10.

"We're excited with the campaign and the way it directly includes, as mainstream, the Hispanic and African-American customers," Snyder said. "A new strategy for us."

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