Sears Teaches USA Today A Multi-Channel Lesson

A USA Today technology columnist learned the hard way that online-offline integration isn't what it's supposed to be. And it was Sears that taught him that lesson.

In the USA Today column, the writer describes having bought a microwave oven from Sears, which was supposed to be delivered and installed through the local Sears store. "Sears.com and Sears at the mall, however, don't share a common database. My order, I learned later, had to be manually sent from Sears.com to the local store. Unfortunately, that process did not allow the dot-com folks to pass along the fact that we had paid for installation."

After 14 phonecalls, the columnist surrendered best practises and did his own multi-channel communication: "We eventually gave someone at the retail store our Sears.com login information and walked him through our account online so he could see the original order and that we had paid for installation. We got our money back." It's really something IT folk need to read.