In early August, Kohl’s reported a comp sales increase of 3.1% for Q2 2018, citing increases in both physical stores and e-commerce. Executives attributed several factors to the positive performance, notably an 8% reduction in inventory that allowed the brand to narrow consumer choices per store, inventory localization, and a speed-to-market strategy that gave them the ability to more quickly capitalize on trends. These initiatives tie into the idea of providing the customer with what she wants, where she wants it.
We’ve already observed Kohl’s working with key partners—notably Amazon and Aldi—to drive customers back to stores, a practice that earned the brand praise in Gartner L2’s Digital IQ Index: Department Stores. The retailer is continuing on with positive partnership momentum, particularly with clothing lines, likely in line with its initiative to bolster its position as a self-proclaimed destination for the most sought-after and relevant brands. The department store has announced a string of partnerships in the past year, including two with established specialty retail brands UnderArmour and Nine West; UnderArmour as a national brand offering has already seen success in its two years at Kohl’s and the Nine West exclusive will launch in 2019.
One new partnership that differs from previous apparel partnerships with national retailers is the upcoming launch of a line with digital media company POPSUGAR. Partnering with the company offers Kohl’s a unique opportunity in terms of audience reach and advertising. CEO Michelle Gass also announced that Kohl’s will “use real time data [from POPSUGAR] to inform and build a collection that is relevant to this important customer.” Since the announcement of the line launch in May, L2 has observed that 0.06% of Kohl’s traffic came from POPSUGAR.com.
This is lower than other department stores that POPSUGAR frequently promotes; for example, Nordstrom saw 0.26% of its traffic come from POPSUGAR during the same time period. Most of the traffic coming from POPSUGAR and going to Nordstrom are product recommendations for POPSUGAR readers (e.g. “Nordstrom Released Hundreds of New Fall Dresses, but These 15 Picks are Worth Buying).” The POPSUGAR line will be customized for the site’s established millennial audience and as the line is officially rolled out, POPSUGAR will likely promote it even more. This will strengthen ties between Kohl’s and POPSUGAR and drive shoppers to the site, making it yet another traffic win for Kohl’s.