In 2017, the department store chain and the retail giant started a pilot program at 100 stores in the Los Angeles, Chicago, and Milwaukee markets to allow returns. On Tuesday, Kohl’s announced that it will expand the service to stores nationwide.
“Kohl’s and Amazon will roll out the program to all of Kohl’s more than 1,150 locations across 48 states,” the company stated. “Kohl’s will accept eligible Amazon items, without a box or label, and return them for customers for free, providing additional service and convenience to Amazon customers.”
Mixing Digital and Traditional
By the summer of 2018, about 8% of Kohl’s customers in Chicago were making Amazon returns in-store, compared to 3% in the rest of the U.S. Although this indicates the service was being used by customers in Chicago, it is still in question whether the rest of the U.S. will do so.
This nationwide return announcement comes after Amazon stated it will close more than 80 of its pop-up stores, which were mostly located within Kohl’s, Whole Foods, and shopping malls. Instead, certain Kohl’s locations have been selling Amazon products in-store. And, Kohl’s also announced plans to shrink the size of most of its stores.
Adapting for Customer Growth
Aldi supermarkets and Planet Fitness said they would open near Kohl’s department stores, in an effort to draw in more shoppers and give customers a reason to come into the existing stores.
Kohl’s percentage of new customers, defined as customers that did not shop at Kohl’s in the prior calendar year, is up 9% in 2018, versus 1% for the rest of the U.S., according to Earnest Research. Perhaps with the new incentive to return Amazon products at Kohl’s, this number will continue to increase, translating to additional sales in-store as well.
Kohl’s market cap currently sits at $12 billion, and its stock has increased about 22% within the past year.
Taylor Locke is a producer for Yahoo Finance.