As brick-and-mortar retailers face a number of store closures in 2019 and increasing competition from e-commerce, new strategies need to be considered. Kohl in particular is using several strategies to combat the "retail apocalypse," from leveraging partnerships to innovating the in-store experience to drive traffic in-stores.
Strategy 1: Connect the in-store and online experience
Shopping online and having items shipped directly to your home is easy and convenient. Dealing with returning items bought online can be a different story. Kohl's and Amazon are extending their partnership to bridge the gap and make returns easier for shoppers. Kohl's recently announced it will be accepting Amazon returns in all of its stores nationwide starting July 2019. The partnership allows Amazon to leverage Kohl's nationwide store footprint while helping Kohl's drive traffic to its stores via exceptional customer and omnichannel services.
Kohl's is shrinking the size of its biggest department stores and planning to lease or sell the space at select locations to Planet Fitness. While the two will not share a front door, both companies plan to co-promote each other to their customers. Kohl's hopes to attract traffic from Planet Fitness goers looking to shop after a workout or purchase fitness trackers, sneakers, or other fitness items. In a similar fashion, Kohl's has partnered with Aldi to open grocery stores next door to Kohl's, leveraging adjacent locations to drive traffic from grocery shoppers.
Strategy 3: Create an in-store experience that's convenient for time-pressed shoppers
Time-pressed Millennial shoppers reported having trouble searching big-box stores for the right matching clothes and styles. Kohl's solution is bringing in a new retail experience—a Pinterest-like "outfit bar"—that lets women shop by curated "looks" for work and social occasions in one place. Kohl's is partnering with stylists and influencers to curate the various looks for the outfit bar and plans to update it with new looks every month. Kohl's plans to test the outfit bars in 50 stores this spring in Philadelphia and Chicago, giving experience-seeking Millennial shoppers a reason to come in-store by providing an ever-changing store experience with quick and easy wardrobe solutions.
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