Posted by: Chris | January 17, 2008

I Want to Cheat on the Craftsman Club


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In late December 2007, Herb Greenberg deemed Eddie Lampert, Chairman of Sears Holdings, the year’s worst CEO. Of course, Lampert is not actually a CEO, which makes me think that things must have been really bad for Greenberg to be compelled to go outside the fold.

Now, I’m not saying that this notorious award was related directly to Sears’ loyalty programs, but I am pretty sure that Eddie and the manager in charge of loyalty programs at Sears, Roebuck and Co., the well-known retail side of the corporation (which also owns K-Mart) rarely do lunch. And maybe that’s a problem. Let me explain.

I like to work around the house. So, like any other self-respecting amateur handyman-husband, I have more tools than I will ever use. And the majority of my power tools are Sears’ store brand, Craftsman tools. So it just made sense that I join Sears’ loyalty program, the “Craftsman Club.”

The process of joining required a phone call and a 4-6 week wait for a membership number which is absolutely required in order to enjoy the benefits of the Craftsman Club.

I wanted to cheat on Sears right away.

Do you realize how many tools I could have purchased from Lowe’s in the amount of time it took for me to receive this membership number? Do you realize how much I could have spent on Home Depot’s website during the 10-minute obligatory phone call I had to initiate to request a membership card?

Regardless, I was excited weeks later when I received my Craftsman Club card (and membership number), so I got on the website as quickly as possible-at an address that is not clearly printed on the face of the card. I put two and two together and simply got onto the Craftsman homepage in hopes that there was a Craftsman Club link available. There was. The landing page for the Craftsman Club is simply accessed via a link in the upper navigation on Sears’ website-not a bad idea. The landing page itself however does not contain a single link (other than the previously mentioned nav-links at the top of the page). There is simply a box in which to enter one’s membership number.

I entered my membership number, and was presented with a simple e-version of the paper Craftsman Club ad flier that is mailed to members’ houses.

A few things I took away about loyalty programs:

  1. Membership in corporate loyalty programs should be initiated by the company based on the buying patterns of its customers. A simple CRM initiative can provide all the information a company needs to identify candidates. Surely Sears does this, but how many products must one buy to be invited?? And why aren’t the store cashiers pushing this program with people like me?
  2. The membership process for those not contacted by the company in Step 1 should be super easy! (sorry for the highly technical jargon) Remember, those with less frequent buying patterns at your store are the ones who really could go either way. Make it easy for them to choose your program. I like Dollar Car Rental’s “Dollar Express” loyalty program process: you apply online at an easily accessible link, and you receive a membership number on the spot. The card comes in the mail a little later (read: less than 4-6 weeks), but you can take advantage of membership privileges immediately.
  3. You have got to put your primary contact point-the program’s website URL-in a highly conspicuous spot…like the face of the membership card.
  4. The “meeting place” for loyalty program members has got to be something special-something that keeps your most loyal customers, uh, loyal. An electronic regurgitation of an archaic collateral format that the member has already seen ain’t compelling.
  5. The program’s “meeting place” (its website) must have a community focus. This is a perfect opportunity for loyal members with near-guaranteed similar interests to establish roots and stay for a while. The site should at least have an element of interactiveness (and I don’t just mean the ability to turn electronic pages with one’s mouse).
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Responses

  1. […] blogs are in the news Request a Trackback I Want to Cheat on the Craftsman Club In late December 2007, Herb Greenberg deemed Eddie Lampert, Chairman of Sears Holdings, the […]

  2. […] admin wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerptI like Dollar Car Rental’s “Dollar Express” loyalty program process: you apply online at an easily accessible link, and you receive a membership number on the spot. The card comes in the mail a little later (read: less than 4-6 weeks), … […]

  3. The Craftsman Club has been a joke. The discounts are good, but only on certain days of the month, and you have to know when they are so you can be at the store. The Club stops mailing sales fliers if you don’t buy more than once every 6 months, apparently. I don’t get to the store more than once a month, and not on a Club day… since I don’t get fliers I don’t know when it is! I went to a lot of trouble to join their Club -and rejoin- (they screwed up the membership and mailings the first year), so I don’t follow their policy of thinking they can make money by ticking off customers.

  4. I agree that the Craftsman Club is a joke, I have had the same problem of getting to the store on just the right days, glad to find out about them cutting you off the flyer list after so long ,I have been wondering why I haven’t been getting them anymore.even though I have been buying things from time to time but the store employees never want to take my card and keep a record of my purchases.
    Also something that I have found is that at times the sale flyer in the Sunday paper has items at lower prices than the Club flyer

  5. I have given up on Sears. I took my Craftsman staple gun in for repair or replacement, upon the employee inspection I was told that nothing could be done. I was informed that a staple gun is not a hand tool. I do not understand, I do not use my foot to use this tool. It has a spring and a gear like a rachet what gives? I hope Sears falls into a black hole. I never miss a chance to share this experience with all and any, and will point them to anywhere else for their needs. Thank you Larry

  6. This company offered us a 20% discount on our purchase and then backed out. I would say that this is the worst retailer that I have ever tried to deal with. They break Federal Trade Practice Laws and think they are too big to be dealt with. I am contacting our Texas Attorney General and will boycott any future purchases from them.

  7. […] 12.I Want to Cheat on the Craftsman Club « The Transfer… Jan 17, 2008 … Regardless, I was excited weeks later when I received my Craftsman Club card (and membership number), so I got on the website as quickly as … https://thetransfer.wordpress.com/2008/01/17/i-want-to-cheat-on-the-craftsman-club/ […]

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