Will Kohl’s shoppers like the ‘emerging brands’ chosen by Facebook users?

Discussion
Source: kohls.com
Aug 14, 2019
George Anderson

Kohl’s, like many other retailers, is looking to attract younger shoppers and keep them as customers. To do this, the chain is turning to Facebook for help. The social media giant is teaming up with Kohl’s to help select niche brands that have strong followings on its namesake property and Instagram.

A press release put out by the retailer yesterday announced the launch of “Curated by Kohl’s.” The program, which will debut in mid-October, will add new “emerging brands” across departments in 50 Kohl’s stores and on kohls.com.

Among the brands making their debuts with Kohl’s are:

  • Adore Me lingerie, made for a wide range of body types;
  • East Adeline by Dia&Co clothing for plus-size women;
  • Kid Made Modern craft kits and accessories;
  • Lovepop laser-cut pop-up greeting cards;
  • Luca + Danni stacking bracelets; 
  • United by Blue eco-friendly bags, drinkware and reusable straw kits. 

Doug Howe, chief merchandising officer at Kohl’s, believes the program with Facebook will “surprise and delight” customers. The Curated by Kohl’s program also gives the retailer a means to “showcase innovation, connect with digital retailers, and team up differently with best-in-class digital platforms.”

New and existing customers will be able to purchase Curated by Kohl’s products using the retailer’s mobile app, place online orders to pick the items up in stores and use Kohl’s Cash for discounts on future purchases. 

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: What do you think of Kohl’s curating a selection of niche brands based on Facebook and Instagram popularity? How good a job do you expect Facebook will do it identifying items Kohl’s shoppers will like? Do you expect to see other retailers engage in similar partnerships with Facebook or other social media sites?

Please practice The RetailWire Golden Rule when submitting your comments.
Braintrust
" I admire the company’s willingness to experiment, iterate, assess, and integrate the learnings into new offerings that tap emerging social and purchase behaviors. "
"While some scoff at Facebook, the reality is that 74 percent of American Facebook users visit daily, with just over half of those checking in multiple times per day."
"I don’t shop at Kohl’s often, but I’ll be headed to one within the next week to check this out!"

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18 Comments on "Will Kohl’s shoppers like the ‘emerging brands’ chosen by Facebook users?"


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Jeff Sward
BrainTrust

This is a great move by Kohl’s. “Surprise and delight” is absolutely the right goal for this kind of initiative. It injects a “treasure hunt” mentality into the whole shopping experience. It fits perfectly into “Explore + Experiment = Experience.” Will it work? Both Facebook and Kohl’s enjoy a huge audience. Hopefully the bell curve nature of their two audiences will find enough overlap that it works for everybody. Bottom line, this is a solid evolutionary move for both parties.

Bob Phibbs
BrainTrust

My thoughts on Kohl’s curated new brands vs. Macy’s Story are in today’s Retail Dive. While Story is the one that is getting Macy’s more press, merchandising the items in their relevant departments — jewelry with jewelry, apparel with apparel, toys with toys — is likely to be more effective at Kohl’s. While some scoff at Facebook, the reality is that 74 percent of American Facebook users visit daily, with just over half of those checking in multiple times per day.

Lee Kent
BrainTrust

My only issue is that Facebook is NOT a Millennial and younger site. They are all over Instagram but pretty much stay clear of Facebook because mom, dad and all the grands would see all their business. I’m surprised Kohl’s went in that direction, but let’s just wait and see. The concept is good. For my 2 cents.

Georganne Bender
BrainTrust

I just read the press release from Kohl’s on its Curated by Kohl’s program. Nowhere in it does it talk about attracting younger shoppers. The goal of the program sounds a lot like STORY; to identify and introduce emerging brands to shoppers. Powered by Facebook means Kohl’s will also have access to brands popular on Facebook-owned Instagram. This is a smart move — Facebook will give Kohl’s a whole of of access to what’s new, hot and happening.

Younger generations still use Facebook, they just use it differently than older generations.

Michael Decker
BrainTrust

Smart move by both marketers to seamlessly connect online and offline retail. Facebook gets much needed credibility by partnering with trusted brands and Kohl’s gets a little hipper. Physical retailers are eager to connect with the “instant chic” of digitally native brands. And of course, customers expect it. This is the future of “all channel” retail.

Paula Rosenblum
BrainTrust

I think it’s a really smart move. I might’ve picked a social media platform that skews younger, like Instagram, but the point is absolutely well-taken.

Crowd-sourcing new brands and styles is always a great idea.

Carol Spieckerman
BrainTrust

“Younger shoppers” and “Facebook” would seem to be at odds. I don’t think of Facebook as the future of multi-generational marketing. More compelling is the promise of newness and exclusive brands in the Kohl’s environment(s). Looking at the breadth of categories, everything from greeting cards to lingerie, Kohl’s risks making a spotty, diluted impression by taking a brand-by-category approach. Hopefully the new brands won’t get lost in the mix, or long in the tooth. It will be important for Kohl’s to keep it fresh.

Doug Garnett
BrainTrust

I’m quite torn on this.

On the one hand, consumers like to have interesting new product options added to their shopping experience. They increase store satisfaction and shopping cart size – even for those who don’t buy them. So this part is excellent.

I don’t like the gimmickry used with Facebook. We already know that relying on online popularity isn’t a good way to curate – people curate far better. Even more, the arrogance of “this is what young people want” is pretty awful. Many Millennials and Gen Zers really find these efforts offensive.

Kudos to Kohl’s for understanding the importance of innovative products in their mix – more retailers should be doing this. But executing it with this silliness seems to remove most of the good which can come from it – let’s hope no one else copies this idea.

Rich Kizer
BrainTrust

Absolutely brilliant. Not only current customers but waves of new faces will reward this effort. They will like what they see.

Dick Seesel
BrainTrust

There is a predictability to Kohl’s major brands — whether private labels like Sonoma or national brands like Levi’s and Under Armour — that is part of its appeal. But this has its downside, too, and an array of “emerging brands” should draw younger shoppers. The element of surprise may attract more frequent visits, too.

For this strategy to work, however, Kohl’s needs to do a couple of things: First, make sure that the “emerging brands” aren’t last year’s news by the time they hit the selling floor. Second, make sure the new labels are highlighted visually instead of being shoehorned in the middle of those legacy brands. Kohl’s has had issues in the past with trying to present too many brands in limited space, so execution is key.

David Weinand
BrainTrust

To associate themselves with up and coming brands is definitely a good move. This is important in a format like Kohl’s to keep them relevant. I’m not sure Facebook is the right platform for the partnership – There are very few young people I know that use Facebook at all (other than for school related activities) – Instagram is a preferable platform for the next generation of shoppers.

Ryan Mathews
BrainTrust
So … let me think … curation based on Facebook posts … what could go wrong? Well, first there’s that whole Facebook is so easily manipulated issue. Then there is the fact that Facebook’s demographics lean older and, while Instagram’s users may be younger now, grandma and grandpa won’t be far behind. So I guess it MIGHT be a good idea depending on who the audience is. If Kohl’s is trying to entice Boomers — good move … assuming Boomers want to follow niche trends. If it is chasing Gen Z, I’m not so sure. Also the problem with offering au currant curation is that … well … you have to be au currant. The social media world is chaotically dynamic compared to traditional retail order cycles. What is in today, may be totally out tomorrow. Just think about Starbucks’ pumpkin spice lattes which looked to be on a never ending growth curve until the Food Babe spiked them. I just don’t think many folks look at Facebook as a trusted data partner given all… Read more »
Mohamed Amer
BrainTrust

Kohl’s is going full throttle on the digital-social front while simultaneously integrating the new initiatives with traditional physical processes and loyalty programs. I admire the company’s willingness to experiment, iterate, assess, and integrate the learnings into new offerings that tap emerging social and purchase behaviors. Kohl’s has no shortages of ideas whose potential is only limited by how well and how fast they can execute and scale.

Lisa Goller
BrainTrust

To attract lucrative Millennials and Gen Z consumers with emerging brands, Kohl’s strategy could work.

That’s because niche brands offer leadership in hot trends younger consumers care about, like:

  • Sustainability: 73 percentof Millennials are willing to pay more for sustainable brands.
  • Local products: Millennials love to support their communities and 73 percent say buying American products is important to them.
  • Diversity and inclusion: 54 percent of younger Millennials say retailers have a responsibility to serve more diverse audiences.

Meanwhile, Facebook and Instagram offer rich insights on what’s in demand. Kohl’s can easily spot high-performing emerging brands based on user engagement (number of followers, likes, positive comments and shares) on these social media platforms.

The fall launch starts ahead of the “Cyber November” shopping season, so we will soon know whether Kohl’s plan succeeds.

Harley Feldman
BrainTrust

Curated by Kohl’s is good for Kohl’s and the Facebook and Instagram companies. The brands win by having a local store available where the shopper can view the product before purchase. Kohl’s wins with the additional traffic, especially shoppers that are not familiar with Kohl’s like younger people. Over time, the right products will be chosen by Kohl’s as they listen to the Curated by Kohl’s shoppers. If this is relationship is successful, which I think it will be, other retailers will follow.

Laura Davis-Taylor
BrainTrust

If you can’t beat them, join them! Facebook is using data to target, tantalize and snag transactions. People are selecting the stuff they love with their likes and wallets — and when the brands they choose stand out, they become a safe bet for a retailer to take on. Combine that with the fact that Kohl’s is often in more accessible locations than anchor malls and you have a win. I don’t shop at Kohl’s often, but I’ll be headed to one within the next week to check this out!

Georganne Bender
BrainTrust

I like this idea! Now, what Kohl’s does on the sales floor is critical. Fashions by Vera Wang, Jennifer Lopez, and Lauren Conrad are generally a tangle of product, displayed on boring chrome workhorse fixtures. What shoppers find in-store has to be just as good – or better – than the staged photos they see on social medias.

Phil Rubin
BrainTrust
3 days 5 hours ago

Notwithstanding my generally negative view on brands outsourcing much of their customer marketing to a platform like Facebook, at least Kohl’s is smart enough to pay attention to customers. Our definition of loyalty marketing, “paying attention to customers and acting accordingly” mirrors this approach by Kohl’s.

Kohl’s is doing a number of smart and innovative things, unlike so much of the rest of retail today. Many of these new tactics are really an outpouring of a focus on customers, which while so elementary, is still a differentiator.

wpDiscuz
Braintrust
" I admire the company’s willingness to experiment, iterate, assess, and integrate the learnings into new offerings that tap emerging social and purchase behaviors. "
"While some scoff at Facebook, the reality is that 74 percent of American Facebook users visit daily, with just over half of those checking in multiple times per day."
"I don’t shop at Kohl’s often, but I’ll be headed to one within the next week to check this out!"

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