Would you let Facebook (NASDAQ: FB) pick out your clothes for you? Well, Kohl's (NYSE: KSS) thinks the social media platform has its pulse on what people are wearing and is partnering with the site to devise a selection of emerging brands that will resonate with millennial consumers.
Called Curated by Kohl's, the department-store chain will tap into the social media site's vast horde of data culled from Facebook, Instagram, and other platforms to identify brands that customers can relate to across numerous categories, including apparel, accessories, and home goods, with the resulting collections sold at 50 Kohl's department stores and on its Kohls.com website.
Image source: Getty Images.
The partnership continues the unique vision of CEO Michelle Gass of how best to keep physical retail relevant in the age of Amazon.com, such as her partnership with the e-commerce giant to have Kohl's serve as a returns drop-off point for Amazon customers. After expanding nationally, Kohl's has indicated that the service is creating more store traffic, leading to more sales.
Everyone's doing it
This latest tie-up with Facebook is part of a larger trend among retailers to offer smaller, more focused collections that allow customers to embark on a treasure hunt of sorts to discover new trends.
Macy's (NYSE: M), for example, recently launched Story, a store-within-a-store boutique that features a revolving assortment of merchandise where it introduces customers to a brand where they may have little experience with the products, at least in the case of its partnership with Dick's Sporting Goods.
Macy's also allowed Facebook to open small, pop-up businesses inside the department store to showcase 100 popular small businesses and digital brands as determined by users of Facebook and Instagram during the holiday season last year.
Target (NYSE: TGT) began targeting male grooming needs with a specialized line called Goodfellow & Co. that's available in its stores and online, and is poised to become a billion-dollar brand for the retailer next year. Kohl's previously targeted millennial customers by launching an apparel line last September with rising media and lifestyle brand Popsugar.
Kohl's wanted to tap into Popsugar's data and analytics to "bring key predictive insights to tell us exactly what this customer wants through the content they are searching, browsing and engaging with across channels."
So this Facebook partnership is not so much a new direction for Kohl's, but rather an additive one.
A new way to frame fast fashion
The department-store chain will be testing out its own curated ideas first come October, setting up companies like body-positivity lingerie specialist Adore Me and pop-up card designer Lovepop. In the spring of 2020, the roster of brands curated by Facebook will begin showing up in Kohl's boutiques and then change out every quarter.
Kohl's continues to think differently about how it wants to meet the needs of its customers. While delving into Facebook's vast array of user preferences to pick out clothes that should appeal to the masses continues to show just how enmeshed the social media network has become in our lives, it also holds the very real possibility the department-store chain may always be able to get the fast-changing sense of fickle fashion trends right.
Growing sales is still most important, and bringing in brands that millennials appreciate could be one of the keys to achieving it.
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John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods Market, an Amazon subsidiary, is a member of The Motley Fool's board of directors. Randi Zuckerberg, a former director of market development and spokeswoman for Facebook and sister to its CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, is a member of The Motley Fool's board of directors. Rich Duprey has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Amazon and Facebook. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.
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