Will Kohl’s self-pickup system be a difference maker?

Discussion
Source: Kohl’s
Aug 12, 2022

Kohl’s thinks that it has developed a better buy online, pickup in-store system.

The retailer Wednesday said it is rolling out self-pickup on eligible orders at all of its more than 1,100 stores, with “no lines in sight.”

Customers placing orders online will receive an email from Kohl’s indicating that the purchase is ready for pickup. Once they arrive at the store, customers will click on the “Open Pickup Pass” link on their phone and head to the pickup area marked on display signage within the location. Customers will then click on “Select Pickup” and enter a four-digit code sent to them to locate the number of the bin that holds their purchase.

Orders placed will be ready within two hours.

The retailer believes this shopping option combined with the Kohl’s App and Kohl’s Pay, which applies discounts and connects purchases to customers’ Kohl’s Card accounts, will make the chain one of the easiest places to shop.

“Our customers love the convenience of same-day buy online, pickup in-store, and now we’re taking the experience to the next level,” Siobhán Mc Feeney, Kohl’s chief technology officer, said in a statement.With some of the busiest months ahead for both customers and associates, we’re excited to offer self-pickup at every store for an easier and more efficient omnichannel experience.”

The chain made the decision to scale the system after a successful pilot. Customer verbatims provided by Kohl’s reinforce the simplicity, speed and convenience of the system touted by the retailer.

“Very simple and effective process. I was able to get in and out very quickly.”

“It was very easy, entered the code and was directed to the pickup box!”

“I like the new option to self-pickup rather than waiting in line.”

Kohl’s expects the convenience factor of its new system will help attract more customers going forward. The retailer’s fleet of stores is within 15 miles of 80 percent of the U.S. population.

The upcoming holiday season will be a critical test for Kohl’s and its leadership team. The company has been under constant pressure from activist investors to take steps that may serve to monetize the business in the short term such as spinning off its real estate assets and digital operations. Kohl’s entertained bids for an outright sale of the company earlier this year but determined that offers made for the business were insufficient.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: How does Kohl’s stack up against retail rivals in terms of convenience? Will its new self-pickup system be a competitive difference maker?

Please practice The RetailWire Golden Rule when submitting your comments.
Braintrust
"Kohl's self-pickup system is super convenient, as it avoids customers standing in a line to pick up their online orders. "
"The combo of two-hour BOPIS order time and no line is key. Together with their loyalty programs, payment options, and app, Kohl’s is now ready to compete."
"The best part of this is reducing the load for Kohl’s employees shifting the pick function to the customer."

Join the Discussion!

10 Comments on "Will Kohl’s self-pickup system be a difference maker?"


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Neil Saunders
BrainTrust

This has been available in one of my local stores for some time. From a theoretical point of view, it is a sensible system that should reduce friction. However the execution in the store is terrible. It was basically some metal shelving arranged in a square with a lot of open boxes and cardboard magazine holder boxes with numbers on them. The whole thing was a mess and did not feel at all secure as there were no staff nearby. It was also pretty dispiriting. Maybe this store was a test that they will improve upon as they roll this out, but it all seemed very down-at-heel to me.

Gary Sankary
BrainTrust

I don’t see this new process moving the needle much for Kohl’s. I just don’t think that there are a lot of consumers out there for whom a locker system would be the big incentive to use BOPIS. Honestly, this isn’t that innovative. Several other retailers are using locker systems for pick-up already.

David Naumann
BrainTrust

Kohl’s self-pickup system is super convenient, as it avoids customers standing in a line to pick up their online orders. The only potential issue with this system is theft, as it appears that shoppers could pick items out of someone else’s box/bin. Maybe an associate checks their receipt on the consumer’s app as they leave the store. If not, lockers may be a more secure alternative if theft becomes a problem.

Rich Kizer
BrainTrust

Well, it is obvious that we in retail love new processes to get the consumer in the store, products in hand. It is better to try than sit back and wish. We’ll see more of these processes before Thanksgiving.

Dick Seesel
BrainTrust

Will the new system add a layer of convenience to the Kohl’s formula? Sure, if it’s executed better than what Neil experienced in his local store. But will it drive incremental sales? Doubtful.

The key to Kohl’s second half will be getting the right content into their stores at the right time (Their CIO and head of supply chain just left the company.) And that big capital investment in Sephora shops needs to deliver incremental sales, too, not just trading volume from areas that lost space.

Ken Morris
BrainTrust

The combo of two-hour BOPIS order time and no line is key. Together with their loyalty programs, payment options, and app, Kohl’s is now ready to compete. I’m not sure why we’re talking about the impact on holiday sales already, though. It’s the middle of August and they’re already rolling this out. I think the impact will be noticeable immediately with every new location they add this to.

Craig Sundstrom
Guest

Normally, of course, convenience is seen as a good thing, but with regard to the specific question I wonder if minimizing contact isn’t also minimizing the upselling opportunities. Regardless, Kohl’s still has its (same old) “store” issues — so no Silver Bullet.

Patrick Jacobs
BrainTrust

This model is an efficient omnichannel experience indeed and reflects a great understanding of how to provide shoppers with multiple use cases to engage with retailers. When companies are present at every potential point of interaction, whether the process is a quick pick-up or an extended in-store experience, loyalty grows. Kohl’s still will need to gain a lot of ground with other challenges but this is a competitive pivot.

Ananda Chakravarty
BrainTrust

The best part of this is reducing the load for Kohl’s employees shifting the pick function to the customer. I’m wondering what the process they’ve put in place for fraud/shrink is when criminals decide to grab something from any bin. This won’t be a game changer, but if it picks up (no pun intended), it will lower costs for Kohl’s and provide a convenience for self-serve oriented customers.

Rachelle King
BrainTrust

This is an excellent convenience for Kohl’s shoppers. It will certainly bolster holiday shopping experience for Kohl’s loyalists.

However, if you’re not a Kohl’s shopper, diving in and wandering through Kohl’s stores to find a pick-up bin may not be the motivational carrot to get new shoppers in the door.

I suspect new shoppers will stick with curbside and may evolve to in-store pickup if curbside provides a good experience.

Still, having “no-lines” is a step in the right direction for in-store pick-up overall. Retailers may want to take note.

wpDiscuz
Braintrust
"Kohl's self-pickup system is super convenient, as it avoids customers standing in a line to pick up their online orders. "
"The combo of two-hour BOPIS order time and no line is key. Together with their loyalty programs, payment options, and app, Kohl’s is now ready to compete."
"The best part of this is reducing the load for Kohl’s employees shifting the pick function to the customer."

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