Call it "Institutionalized Indirection." Maybe I'm being too cynical (it's Monday), but if it doesn't involve a small army of Big Data specialists, attempting to statistically divine the information, then it's not worth doing ... or simply anathema to the way, you know, "we do things."
(Case in point: it took nearly a decade for a certain department store to finally allow write-in comments on their Customer Service survey. Why?)
Kohl's no doubt sees this as thinking outside the box: a bold, innovative move. The problem, I suspect, is that Amazon sees this as nothing more than 1100 parking lots within which to place their return stations.
I wonder if this will turn into (another) race to the bottom for retailers, each scrambling to get a slice of Amazon's pie.
Kohl's is aggressively hi-lo and coupon-based; IKEA is everyday low price. One thing Ron Johnson taught us is that customers who like playing the hi-lo game don't, for whatever reason, respond to everyday low pricing.
Plus the quality of merchandise follows the price strategy: if you've ever seen Kohl's cheap IKEA knock-offs in their BTS "dorm" shop, then it's clear that any such hybrid would quickly race to the bottom.
Hucksterism like this, while ostensibly harmless, undermines the notion of Amazon as a purveyor of predictable and gimmick-free in-home shopping. It hurts the brand ... unless, of course, they're looking to align themselves more along the lines of QVC than with Apple.
Yes, it will happen, but retailers won't be the ones controlling it. It will be third-party service providers who allow you to map your home or apartment or backyard, then use your smartphone to place items you see in a store into your scanned environment. (This really isn't even all that complicated ... I suspect there's a version out there already.)
But this won't stop Walmart, Kohl's and the rest from dumping massive amounts of capital into yet another tech initiative that's way outside their core competencies.
I think Macy's (2017) should have a baby with Macy's (1995).
Honestly, stealing a page out of the "Experience Economy" playbook as a means of revitalizing Macy's neglects the fact that Macy's today -- where self-service shoe departments are viewed as "innovative" -- bears almost no relation to the Macy's I used to frequent not all that long ago.
The missing elements here are identity and vision, not mouse ears.
Walmart presumably knows their store's environmentals are terrible and would no doubt be horrifically expensive to fix. I shop there regularly and every few months they hive-off a portion of the selling floor behind plywood construction barriers. I wait with anticipation to see what improvements will be rolled out but, invariably, when the walls come down I'm hard pressed to tell what has changed. (How do you spruce up what is, essentially, an aircraft hangar?)
So I'm intrigued that Aldi is focusing on improvements to the physical shopping experience and environmental factors. If they get that equation right, they could end up drawing customers from both directions: trading-up from Walmart and trading-down from Publix.
The legislation bizarrely assumes parity between the employee and the employer; that a mutually agreed upon understanding can take place that makes everyone happy. This assumption suggests a frightening naivety -- or willful disregard -- regarding retail workplace dynamics, an environment still rampant with call-in shifts and dreaded "clopenings." (If you're eager to pass legislation, start with that lifestyle-destroying practice.)
Forgive my cynicism (it's Friday), but part of me thinks that Kroger might be overthinking its customer. When people get in their car after work or on a weekend, do they really embark on a "journey" hoping to find "compelling" or "engaging" experiences, with personalized coupons pinging in their pockets? Or do they just want cereal and soup for the kids?
So while nobody wants a race to the bottom, maybe we should be thanking Walmart for nudging that boring concept of "price" higher up the list of priorities.
I prefer Jet's model: offer an immediate incentive at the time of purchase for the items already in your cart. They've incentivized choices I hadn't previously thought about, like "Opt out of free returns" and "Use debit card (not credit)."
As for Amazon, since members are waiving what's normally regarded as the key benefit of Prime, why not allow that credit to be applied to next-year's Prime renewal? A sort of "Pay-it-Forward" loyalty program.
Note to GrowBiz Media: those post-checkout popups are rapidly ... and I do mean rapidly ... becoming the scourge of the internet. They're closely related to those "landing page" popups that preemptively ask if you'd be willing to complete a survey after your visit. It's like walking into a room full of houseflies; I don't want to be there, and I leave. And post-checkout is NOT a time most consumers want to be bothered by anything.
No need for past-tense here; locations I routinely visit are still hiring for the holiday, mostly because they can't retain new hires for high-stress, low-control jobs as "pickers." As a result, I frequently see store executives — and these are salaried people we're talking about — pushing around pick carts, trying to boost their fulfillment stats.