Sears, AOL Aim to Boost Signups, Card Use With Promotions

Sears, Roebuck and Co. and America Online are set to begin a series of in-store and online

promotions designed to boost sales for the Hoffman Estates, Ill.-based retailer and

membership for the online services giant.

Beginning Wednesday, Sears will set up interactive displays promoting AOL membership at

registers in the home electronics departments of all of its approximately 860 Sears

department stores in the U.S., and its nine stores in Puerto Rico, and at the service desks

of its 180 Sears Hardware Stores. Customers can purchase a year of AOL access at the

register.

This sign-up push is positioned as a way to “give the gift of Internet access this

holiday season,” said Joe Charno, Sears Online vice president of online marketing.

Customers signing up in Sears stores for one year of AOL service will also receive a $50

sears.com shopping spree, free label-maker software and 700 hours of AOL service free for

the first month.

The companies are also launching a contest to promote AOL sign-ups and visits to Sears’

online store. Sears customers who register for a one-year AOL membership are also

automatically entered in a sweepstakes for a chance to win one of five $100,000 prizes. The

Sears Good Life Giveaway sweepstakes runs through April.

In addition, Dulles, Va.-based AOL will give new and existing users of its version 6 the

option of paying for their use of the service with the Sears Card, which is the largest

domestic proprietary credit card, with some 39 million active cardholders.

Consumers who use a Sears Card as payment when signing up in a store for a year of AOL

will also receive store coupons worth about $2,400 for use in Sears stores for Sears Card

purchases.

The promotions come as part of a deal announced by the companies in March. That deal

also made Sears merchandise available on AOL’s [email protected] areas on its properties — including

AOL, AOL.COM, Netscape Netcenter, and CompuServe — and through AOL Keyword: Sears, and

specifies AOL as Sears’ preferred provider of Internet access. Financial terms of that

agreement were not disclosed.

“The convenience of registering for the AOL service in our stores, payment with a Sears

Card and the money-saving opportunities with The Good Life Giveaway represent the next steps

in the strategic alliance,” Charno said.

“These new promotions will bring the convenience of AOL to Sears customers and provide a

new payment option for AOL members, while making it possible to win valuable shopping sprees

and sweepstakes,” said AOL marketing president Jan Brandt.

Brandt also said AOL and Sears are considering additional promotions in the future.

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