Why Kohl’s decision to team up with Amazon is business in 3019
By Ella Wilson
What’s a poor little national corporation like Kohl’s to do when it comes up against the Goliath Amazon, who’s slashing-and-burning through other retailers like Daenerys’ dragons? When you can’t beat em, join ‘em.
Amazon is the of brick-and-mortar angel of death
Big-name retailers like Best Buy, Macy’s and Barnes & Noble are all suffering from Amazon’s death by a thousand cuts, as brick and mortar locations can’t compete with the price, convenience, and selection of Amazon. Shopping in your PJs? Yes, please. Free 2-day shipping? Shut up and take my money.
But Kohl’s is out here living in 3019. Kohl’s now accepts Amazon returns at all of its 1,154 stores. All customers have to do is bring in the item from Amazon, and Kohl’s employees will pack, label and ship it to Amazon completely free.
It’s no longer your mom’s Kohl’s
By agreeing to partner with Amazon to take in and ship Amazon returns directly from its stores, Kohl’s is not only creating a positive business relationship with one of the biggest retailers on the planet, but it’s proving – to itself and its customers – that it is a forward-thinking, progressive brand ready. Anyone who thought Kohl’s was a tired brand is going to have to think again.
3019 marketing – How to get people in the door without sales or discounts
With overbearing marketing emails (how many times can a store have a sale in a single week?), Kohl’s Cash incentives, and “everything is always on sale” pricing, Kohl’s is always a bit over-the-top when it comes to trying to lure customers through its doors. Maybe that’s why the company decided to do something as bold as agreeing to become one of Amazon’s henchmen. This partnership, finally, might be the marketing effort that gets Kohl’s the results it’s been after. Since Kohl’s started taking in Amazon’s returns, its foot traffic has increased by 25%.
A marriage made in marketing heaven
The Amazon return project began as a trial run at 100 Kohl’s stores. In a New York Times article, retail analyst Oliver Chen said, “It’s an interesting marriage because what Kohl’s needs is store traffic, and what Amazon needs is to make customers happier with a place to return their items.”
The worst part about ordering from Amazon worrying that you’ll have to return it. Amazon’s return process is not bad by industry standards, but having to find a box, print a label (if you have a printer), and pack everything up is enough to keep many folks from ordering online in the first place. Not to mention, having to find a place to drop the package off to be shipped.
Now, Kohl’s does all the packing, labeling and shipping for you, and their generous hours make it more convenient than standard Post Offices or shipping locations that operate under business hours.
Kohl’s was suffering from “lethargic store traffic and an aging clientele,” according to the same NYT article. It’s partnership with Amazon promises to solve both. Store traffic has increased by 25%, and it’s a younger, hipper crowd – the epitome of online shoppers. Who knows, maybe Kohl’s can convince online shoppers than real-life browsing is fun again.
Fight or die
Kohl’s knows that in the era of online shopping, brick-and-mortar store have to either fight for the future or die out. WAY out of the box thinking, like turning your homegoods and apparel store into a shipping depot for an internet giant, is exactly the kind of incredible forward thinking that’s going to keep brands afloat in an ever-dwindling physical-shopping market.
Other unique ways Kohl’s is staying strong against the online invasion is leasing space to stores like Planet Fitness and the discount grocer Aldi. The more popular stores that surround Kohl’s, the more likely they are to tempt those customers over from their neighbors. A win-win for the stores and customers alike.
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