February 12, 2011

Special Report: Mygofer or Mygoof, a concept worth the effort?

By now you've probably heard of mygofer, one of Sears Holdings many concepts and tests. If you haven't, it's in short, a bit of a hybrid type shopping experience. You can order groceries, health & beauty, and general merchandise items online and have them delivered to you or pick them up at select Kmart locations. All you have to do is go to the website, select your Kmart store, pick out the items you want, then go to the store to pick them up. There's also a mobile app that you can order items from in lieu of using the website.

         (Image courtesy of newmarketbuilders.com)

It's a good concept, but I'm afraid the execution is once again flawed. For example, when you're shopping for groceries on mygofer.com, you're limited to picking out whatever that Kmart store you select carries. Unfortunately, most Kmart's have a small selection of groceries. Upon browsing my local Kmart on mygofer.com, you can buy a gallon of milk yet you can't buy a carton of orange juice. Browsing further in the category of frozen foods, all it brings up is a half gallon bottle of prune juice, which is not even a frozen food item. You can see where I'm going here, there's a very limited selection of grocery items that you can order online and get in store.

There's many other catagories that you can chose from to order on the site and pick up in store (electronics, household items, etc.), but that's really no different from ordering on Wal-Mart's website and selecting their site-to-store pickup. The food and grocery catagroies are displayed prominently on mygofer's website and seem to be the main draw of the service, yet it's the part most lacking. I will go a step further and say that if you're close to an actual mygofer store (of which there is only one in existance) or a Kmart Supercenter (not many left in existance) you can chose from a better selection of grocery items. Honestly, what's the point of heavily promoting the service, if only a few places in the US can take full advantage of it?

Another point to make is the website itself is not especially quick or even easy to use. It makes a decent alternative to Wal-Mart site-to-store pick up service. If that's Sears Holdings goal, then why not just integrate the 'order online, pick up in store' service into Kmart.com and Sears.com. Instead of having a whole separate website to shop from. Yes, I understand that Wal-Mart's service won't let you pick up your items within a couple hours of ordering them, like mygofer can. That's definitely a positive, but it's only beneficial in certain situations.

Now let's look at the actual mygofer store locations, which at last check, there was only one. Joliet, IL is the original full fledged mygofer location, born from a converted Kmart building. It's basically a small showroom, with computers to order items, and a drive thru to pick them up. The majority of the building is warehouse space for all the items they sell. The city of Joliet has a webpage all about this location, including several pictures. To me, the actual mygofer store locations are a more innovative and intriguing concept than the mygofer at Kmart pickup service.

So what do you think, is mygofer a concept Sears Holdings should keep testing or do you think it's yet another failure by them?