Sears Courts Developers Of mShopping Apps

By Chanel Smith EMEA Editor (@PYMNTS_EMEA)

Sears is looking for the right people to help it move toward online and mobile commerce.

The retail holding company that managers both Sears and Kmart chains, Sears Holdings Corp. has already been building its online presence, and has been working on improving its mobile, social and loyalty program applications. To further this effort, the company is holding a hackathon event in San Francisco to help lure potential candidates for technological developments, reported The Wall Street Journal. Sears Holdings is looking for software developers to help design advanced applications that will continue to drive customers to shop in-store and online.

“We’re looking for great talent,” said George Goley, CIO of online business at Sears. “We have lots of ideas, but we don’t have all the people we need yet to execute the ideas.”

Sears reported that is already making use of consumer data that is collected from various platforms on the Internet and through mobile devices. These interactions are allowing Sears to better understand their customers by viewing data such as purchase history, thus allowing them to customize personal promotions.

Earlier this month, Sears reported $194 million in losses due to sales falling by about 6.3 percent, reported The Wall Street Journal. As a result, the company is making an effort to continue developing the crucial shopping tools it takes to enhance customer loyalty.

Goley explained that the company is hoping to find quality developers amongst the bevy of contestants, but warns that building software is no easy skill. At the event, participants will be required to write mobile commerce, payment and customer account management applications that aim to provide solutions for current challenges at Sears. The application proposals must be integrated with Sears’ “Shop Your Way” loyalty scheme, which is a service that gives customers personalized vouchers, rewards and promotions. Participants are automatically given the rights to any codes that they create at the event, but Sears explained that it may potentially use any of the ideas presented at the hackathon

According to The Wall Street Journal, participating startups are eligible for a prize of $40,000 for a “test budget,” and an agreement from Sears to have their product in the market by the holiday season. There is a $10,000 cash reward and other prizes, such as possible job opportunities at Sears, available for developers and other prizes.

To read the full article at The Wall Street Journal, click here. 

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