Kohl's has previously set its goals high for omnichannel shopping experiences, stating its determination to become the “most engaging retailer in America”. To realize this dream, Kohl’s has one simple objective – to make shopping at Kohl’s, whether online or in-store, easier than ever.
"Kohl’s is committed to providing our customers with an easy, convenient shopping experience in a way that is personalized and engaging – no matter how each customer prefers to shop," Kevin Mansell, Kohl’s chairman, CEO and president, said in a statement. "Our digital teams are continually testing new ideas and capabilities to create a world-class omnichannel experience that is seamless across devices. With each evolution, we aim to elevate our offerings for an easy, inspiring shopping experience."
The company re-launched its mobile commerce site in September, with a sharp focus toward streamlining the process for buying online, both for in-store and online customers.
The new consumer-focused initiatives include a “store mode” extension on its mobile app, improved mobile payments options (including Apple Pay), an online Visa Checkout, and, in certain market areas, same-day delivery.
The Omnichannel Drive
The integration of a mobile, website and in-store experience is what the modern consumer wants. As reported in our last blog post, customers are increasingly expecting their favorite stores to deliver a true convergence of digital and physical commerce. The goal for retailers is to enable such an omnichannel capability, where customers can place an order on their smartphone, track the delivery progress on their laptop at work, and then pick up the item at their desired location at a time that’s most convenient for them.
As Mansell pointed out on Kohl’s third quarter Earnings Call, this is an area in which Kohl’s new digital strategy has found great success.
"Online-generated demand continues to exceed our multiyear growth plans. Two important drivers of that in the most recent quarter include our new mobile platform, which we launched in September, and a growing positive response to our Buy Online, Pick Up in Store, or BOPUS, functionality, which we just began marketing.
“Our new mobile platform has driven significantly higher conversions since the launch and mobile has reached 50% of our total online traffic. BOPUS has been embraced by consumers, driving in-store traffic, and we've enjoyed better than expected attachment rates to those visits, consistently exceeding 20%.”
"According to a recent study, 45 percent of shoppers reported using their mobile device for mobile coupons – and this is just one example of how consumers are using mobile while they are shopping.”
The updated mobile app comes with a new savings wallet that allows shoppers to track their Kohl’s Cash – an existing initiative that lets shoppers earn points from their purchases. Additionally, the Kohl’s app will be refreshed so that shoppers can scan the bar code associated with the Kohl’s Cash number to cut down on the number of steps that consumers need to take to redeem rewards.
Furthermore, in-store customers are receiving geo-targeted push notifications and offers, which customers can redeem on the spot. This is part of Kohl’s enhanced Wi-Fi experience, in which the company has invested heavily. The aim is to give consumers exclusive content and offers in exchange for connecting to the Kohl’s network, which the retailer will use to gather data on in-store consumer behavior and shopping habits – essential insights for future improvements.
The in-store shopping experience is something that retailers need to focus their efforts on in 2016, and Kohl’s is providing a great example of how to do it well. Now that the big chains like Kohl’s and Walmart have begun to deliver seriously streamlined omnichannel convenience for all customers, both in and out of store, a new bar has been set and consumer expectations will rise accordingly.
Retailers who fail to move into the mobile and omnichannel arena will find their customers straying to those that do. The novelty factor is of course at play at these early stages of the technology, and consumer intrigue will no doubt attract new customers through Kohl’s doors. But, when brilliance is delivered and the consumers are served and satisfied, it will be an uphill battle for those latecomers to the technology to start winning those customers back.
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About John Waldron: John Waldron is a technology and business writer for markITwrite digital content agency, based in Cornwall, UK. He writes regularly across all aspects of marketing and tech, including SEO, social media, FinTech, IoT, apps and software development.
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