The value of online communities isn’t lost by major retailers. It is a smart move. Definitely smarter than Facebook fan pages, but that’s my personal opinion to be expressed in another post, probably my next.

This post is about two new online communites: MySears and MyKmart.

Sears Holdings Corp launched the two communities as venues for consumers to read and write reviews as well as communicate with each other in a variety of ways to share information about products, according to Internet Retailer. The goal is to help customers make purchasing decisions.

Here’s an excerpt that pretty much characterizes the features:

The communities allow members to write product reviews, post comments on the reviews of others, participate in discussion boards and post ideas for the community to vote on. They can upload photos, and write blog posts as well as exchange private messages with other community members. Users also can create their own profiles on the sites, and Sears hopes to soon add functionality to allow members to import their existing profiles from other social networking sites like Facebook and MySpace.

As a community manager, I think this is has great possibilities, and importing profiles from Facebook and MySpace is icing on the cake. This company has done it’s homework, creating niche sites for two different venues when they could have easily and probably for less money, combined them into one.

I hope they hired a community manager and plan to promote the sites in stores. I’ll be watching and will definitely report back.

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