Kohl’s continues wellness push with WW collaboration

Discussion
Photo: Kohl's
Jan 30, 2019
George Anderson

Kohl’s, like other retailers, has sought in recent years to tap into the consumer demand for products related to living healthier lives. Yesterday’s announcement of a pilot collaboration with WW, the new Weight Watchers company, is just another step in that direction.

The two companies announced plans for a variety of test programs throughout 2019 including the opening of the first WW Studio inside a Kohl’s store, the launch of WW Healthy Kitchen products at select locations and on Kohls.com as well as subsidized memberships in the WW Freestyle program for the retailer’s employees through its Healthy Rewards program.

“We want to encourage families to lead healthy and fulfilled lives, and a strategic partnership with WW provides the opportunity to further advocate for the health and wellbeing of Kohl’s customers and our associates,” said Michelle Gass, Kohl’s CEO, in a statement. “As a destination for active and wellness for the entire family, we continue to seek out new ideas that support our customers’ health goals.”

Plans for the WW Studio call for it to open this year inside a Kohl’s in the Chicago market. The 1,800-square-foot space will be used to host WW Wellness Workshops for local members in the program as well as “specially curated” space for Kohl’s customers and associates.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Will Kohl’s collaboration with WW help promote the retailer as a destination for health-conscious consumers? Where do you see the greatest opportunities for Kohl’s to benefit from its relationship with WW?

Please practice The RetailWire Golden Rule when submitting your comments.
Braintrust
"You have to give it to Kohl’s for trying new things. And for trying to build a sense of community. But what’s in that 'specially curated' 1,800-square-foot space? "
"Interesting partnership and smart move by WW CEO Mindy Grossman to bring her offerings closer to a set of target customers."
"This is right on trend and smart. Kohl’s is looking at ways to be partners in their customers’ lives first..."

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11 Comments on "Kohl’s continues wellness push with WW collaboration"


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Dr. Stephen Needel
BrainTrust

It will end up being a place to get Weight Watchers stuff cheaper than a lot of other outlets. But don’t count on people flocking to Kohl’s for a Weight Watchers meeting.

Rich Kizer
BrainTrust

Not surprised. Retail is a fast road, and if you aren’t moving, you get run over. Constant differentiation is the key. We have heard that Kohl’s is looking to open a 2,000 square foot WW studio in a Chicagoland store. Kohl’s is making smart moves into the health world, and is now carrying such vendors as FitBit and Under Armour, and claims success with both lines. Yes they are creating a stronger unique destination with this WW partnership. They’re driving fast.

Georganne Bender
BrainTrust

You have to give it to Kohl’s for trying new things. And for trying to build a sense of community. But what’s in that “specially curated” 1,800-square-foot space? Classes? Workshops? Will it offer more than product on a daily basis? Frankly, I can’t see anyone wanting to do their weekly WW weigh in on the sales floor at Kohl’s.

Ricardo Belmar
BrainTrust

Success will come down to execution — what will this new space deliver to customers? I applaud Kohl’s for being creative in experimenting with new uses for their space. Department stores, in general, are in need of defining new reasons for shoppers to come to their stores besides selling apparel. Kohl’s seems to be doing more than others in this area, except possibly for Macy’s, and with good reason – they need to make their store a meaningful destination for a wide variety of customers to increase foot traffic. All of these approaches are hoping that once you get the customer in the store, they might buy something else. That is predicated on Kohl’s ensuring the merchandise they have to offer is what those customers desire. Just creating interesting destinations alone won’t move the needle on sales, but it’s a start and clearly, every department store needs to do something in this area to improve.

Georganne Bender
BrainTrust

I like that WW chose a partner that offers apparel to people of all shapes and sizes. This wouldn’t work in a store that thinks an XL is a size 10.

Jane Sarasohn-Kahn
Guest

The Kohl’s/WW collaboration is part of a growing retail health landscape bringing health and wellness to people where we live, work, play, learn, and now shop. It’s also part real-estate play as strip and shopping malls seek alternative uses for space — which healthcare providers and stakeholders can fill. Kohl’s sells athletic and active wear and wearable tech, quite prominently in the 2017 and 2018 Black Friday and holiday shopping seasons. They also expanded their relationship with Under Armour in 2017. Here’s my take on the Kohl’s/WW alliance in Health Populi.

Patricia Vekich Waldron
Staff

Interesting partnership and smart move by WW CEO Mindy Grossman to bring her offerings closer to a set of target customers.

Bob Phibbs
BrainTrust

This is right on trend and smart. Kohl’s is looking at ways to be partners in their customers’ lives first with easy Amazon returns and now to present wellness as part of who they are. CVS made a bigger splash by discontinuing cigarettes but it is a similar play to make their shoppers’ lives better.

Cynthia Holcomb
BrainTrust

We have all seen it — a big empty retail space once touted as the new thing, new for idealistic events meant to inspire customer interaction. A couple months in, the programs fall under their own weight (no pun intended) driven by the heavy lift of program creation, execution, staffing and the never-ending pursuit of consumer participants. Core in executing a collaboration is a reason for being, embraced by those tasked with the rah-rah of execution. Richard Simmons for Kohl’s? A real stretch.

Craig Sundstrom
Guest

In some ways this seems like a throwback to the days when department stores offered all kinds of ancillary services — restaurants, barbers, post offices, etc. (Though I don’t think Kohl’s itself ever did.) In other ways, it can also seem like a desperate let’s-try-anything attempt to make use of now vacant space, as online renders even newer, smaller stores “oversized.”

I guess which view we ultimately adopt will depend on how successful this experiment turns out.

Bob Phibbs
BrainTrust

In part what I said to @RetailDive today: “What everybody has missed in the media about this is that Oprah Winfrey is the one who took over this company — she was the one who started saying, “We have to rebrand as a wellness initiative,” and she knows her customers. And if you have Kohl’s now saying these stores are too big, why not? Now they’ve also upped the idea — equated themselves with Oprah, so there’s a halo effect.

wpDiscuz
Braintrust
"You have to give it to Kohl’s for trying new things. And for trying to build a sense of community. But what’s in that 'specially curated' 1,800-square-foot space? "
"Interesting partnership and smart move by WW CEO Mindy Grossman to bring her offerings closer to a set of target customers."
"This is right on trend and smart. Kohl’s is looking at ways to be partners in their customers’ lives first..."

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