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Accepting Amazon returns is boosting customer acquisition and revenue for Kohl’s, according to data from Earnest Research emailed to Retail Dive.
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Key growth metrics for Kohl’s locations in Chicago, where most locations are participating in the collaboration with Amazon, were better than the same metrics across the US for 2018. For example, revenue growth for Chicago locations was over 10%, compared with 5% elsewhere in the US, and new customers in the Chicago area rose 9% in 2018, towering over the 1% seen in the rest of the country.
Here’s what it means: Accepting Amazon returns is helping fuel growth for Kohl’s, and this trend will likely intensify as the partnership is set to expand in the future.
Amazon’s relationship with most retailers is highly adversarial, but Kohl’s seems to have found symbiosis with this partnership. Kohl’s expanded the collaboration from 82 stores to just over 100 of its 1,158 locations in August 2018, and plans to bring Amazon return handling to even more stores in the future. The retailer previously had Amazon kiosks in 30 stores dedicated to selling Amazon products, and after the e-commerce giant decided to close all such pop-ups in the US, Kohl’s moved to a wholesale relationship with Amazon. Amazon-branded products will now be available from more stores (200 in total) and will be sold directly from Kohl’s instead of from Amazon pop-ups.
The bigger picture: Kohl’s provides a good model for how retailers can add value to their in-store experience through partnerships.
The retailer is dedicated to getting the most out of its stores and hasn’t limited itself to working only with Amazon. Kohl’s has also partnered with Aldi, allowing the supermarket chain to operate spaces in a handful of Kohl’s locations, and is even experimenting with opening a WW — formerly Weight Watchers — Studio in a Kohl’s in Chicago. Taking an outside-the-box approach to getting more value from stores can help retailers keep their brick-and-mortar locations relevant, which is especially important given that US retailers have already announced plans to shutter a staggering 5,399 stores, a number that’s only about 330 stores shy of 2018’s total closures.
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