Exclusive Q&A: Kohl’s drives in-store holiday sales

Dan Berthiaume
Senior Editor, Technology
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Kohl's store holiday assortment
Kohl's is rolling out a major in-store holiday promotional strategy.

Kohl’s Corp. is focusing on store merchandising and deals to serve the needs of holiday shoppers.

In an exclusive interview with Chain Store Age, Nick Jones, Kohl’s chief merchandising and digital officer, and Christie Raymond, Kohl’s chief marketing officer, discussed Kohl’s store-centric holiday promotional strategy.

The department store retailer, which ran the omnichannel Deal Dash holiday sales extravaganza earlier in October and will offer Black Friday, Super Saturday and Black Monday promotions in November, is increasing its front-of-store space dedicated to new, seasonal products and trends, including holiday home decor and gifting.

In addition, a new Gift Shop, featuring a variety of holiday gifts, will be located right at the front of the store; and Kohl’s is debuting a new holiday gift guide featuring products across categories including apparel, home, electronics, and toys, priced for all budgets. 

What inspired Kohl’s to offer in-store promotions for the holiday season?

Nick Jones: “We put product front and center, because we know it is what our customers expect from us. We're proud of the value and quality that we're offering. This year, in-store shoppers will see a bigger extended gifting assortment and holiday assortment at the front of the store. We have opened up space to make sure that they can see that we are the top holiday destination

Sephora will be at 900 stores this year, 300 more stores than last year. In terms of impulse around the checkout queue, we are providing products that have great value for $5.

Christie Raymond: Value is important. Kohl’s has a really strong promotional calendar and has approached our promotions as an omnichannel retailer, so when we do things in the store, we may also extend it online. We want holiday shopping to be as easy as possible for customers.

Do you think more customers are going to be shopping for the holidays in-store that have been in the last year or two?

Jones: Projections are that in-store shopping will be elevated and Kohl’s certainly has seen customers coming back to the store to shop. I think digital is going to be hot as well. People are being thoughtful with their dollars, looking for deals, and digital is a nice way for them to do so. One of the key things for us is to try and create as much consistency as possible between the physical and digital experience.

Lots of customers will browse online and then buy in store. So that's a really important part of our proposition. There might be more dollars spent in the store environment, but I still think customers find that digital experience important today and going forward in terms of search, browse and indeed purchase.

Raymond: The takeaway is the importance of the consistency of the value message, both physically and digitally. We want to make sure customers can shop via the channel they choose.

Can you discuss any sort of omnichannel or digital holiday promotions that Kohl's has this year?

Raymond:On Black Friday, we will have a sweepstakes for our store customers. The first 200 that show up at the store will be eligible to win prizes worth one million dollars across all of them.

What else is Kohl’s doing to better serve holiday shoppers?

Jones: Taking the friction points away from our customers is something that we're focusing on. We want to make the shopping experience as easy as possible.

Raymond: Loyalty programs are another incredibly important component, where you have the Kohl’s Rewards program. And if you shop for Sephora beauty products in our stores, you can get your Beauty Insider points as well as your Kohl’s Rewards. So, there's a lot of value there for our loyalty customers as well.