Sears’ Blue Tools Crew recently announced a new interactive online Sears Tool Catalog that they hope will make it easier than ever for shoppers to find the right tool for the job. We are told that, for the interactive parts of the catalog, there are videos and helpful product finders and selection guides.
For reference, there are more than 40,000 tools featured in the online product listing compared to 2,500 in the print catalog, including 1,200 online-exclusive tools.
Some of the major features of the new online catalog include:
- 11 main product categories
- Mechanic’s tool set selector
- Garage storage planner
- More than 40 product demonstration videos
What I Liked
I definitely liked some of the comprehensive new interactive features such as the tool set selector and garage storage “planner.” These features aren’t really what I would call interactive, but they still make for valuable shopping aids.
The mechanic’s tool set selector does an excellent job of listing the package details for each of the larger Craftsman tool sets, making it easier for customers to choose the best set for their needs. Unfortunately, this feature seems to be limited to the mechanic’s tool sets, and is not available for smaller sets such as those under $200.
The “garage storage planner”, while more of a sample showcase than a “planner”, provides an impressive wealth of detail about the various storage products Sears carries, and shows how they can complement each other.
One more thing that I particularly liked about the new catalog were the product demo videos, especially those that focused on Craftsman’s newer products, such as their elbow ratcheting wrenches. I believe that the Blue Tools Crew can take this a bit further with longer and more detailed videos, but perhaps that’s best left to us tool enthusiasts and bloggers.
What I Did Not Like
I found that the catalog was not as expansive as it could be. In recent months I have become frustrated with how difficult it is to find certain tools on Sears’ site, especially with all of the new 3rd party offerings in the way. The new catalog definitely makes product navigation much easier, but certain (most?) sections do not contain full product listings yet.
For example, when searching for woodworking tools, only a small sample of tools were listed. When searching for drill presses, only 7 models came up. Excluded from the drill press product listing were Craftsman’s 10″ and 12″ tabletop drill presses. After not seeing these 2 models in the online catalog, potential customers might opt to either conduct a time consuming manual search, navigate the product listing, or they might become completely discouraged and shop at a different retailer in belief that what they want is not carried by Sears.
In addition to being somewhat incomplete, there was at least one instance where products were miscategorized. Navigating the woodworking hand tool category brought up common woodworking tools, pocket knives, ball peen hammers, and a 3.0 lb drilling hammer. Maybe a drilling hammer can be used for woodworking, but that doesn’t seem like an appropriate designation.
While the new catalog is definitely a step in the right direction, it has not yet been developed to the point where a printed catalog is no longer needed. That’s not to say that I didn’t like what I saw, because I did, but my printed Craftsman/Sears/Blue Tools Crew tool catalogs will remain my primary product finder.
Take a look at the new Sears online tool catalog, and tell us what you think!