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Kohl’s Is Playing Catch-Up Ahead of the Holidays

Kohl’s shoppers can now choose the self-pickup option to collect their online purchases at any of the chain’s more than 1,100 stores.

The retailer is expanding the in-store pickup service to all locations so that customers don’t have to wait in line to retrieve purchases they’ve already paid for.

Shoppers who select “In-Store Pickup” for their online order will receive a “Ready for Pickup” email that will specify when the order will be ready in the designated Self-Pickup area. After heading to the store and clicking “Open Pickup Pass” in the email, customers will then be directed to the area in the store for an email-guided pickup process.

From there, shoppers enter a four-digit code listed on the self-pickup station to find their order. The location bin number of their order will be displayed on their mobile device. Once they retrieve their order, they can finish the process by clicking “Complete My Order.”

A shopper picks up a product from their designated pick-up spot.
A shopper picks up a product from their designated pick-up spot.

The rollout comes ahead of the busy holiday shopping season.

“Our teams have been working hard to ensure Kohl’s Self-Pickup service was available for all of our customers ahead of the holiday rush,” Siobhán Mc Feeney, Kohl’s recently promoted chief technology officer, said in a statement. “At Kohl’s, we’re focused on listening to what shoppers want, and using technology to make it as easy as possible for families to get everything they need quickly, and through a simple experience.”

Kohl’s says that throughout testing, customers have shared “extremely positive feedback” that fueled the expansion.

The move comes as more shoppers continue to demand convenient fulfillment options. U.S. buyers will spend $95.87 billion via buy online, pick up in-store (BOPIS) this year, a 19.4 percent increase year over year, said Emarketer in December 2021. Through 2025, BOPIS is anticipated to grow at approximately 17 percent per year, the firm says.

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According to November 2021 research by data capture provider Scandit, in-store order fulfillment has enhanced customer satisfaction and loyalty by 88 percent. Scandit’s findings, comprised of U.S. retail executives, also showed that BOPIS led to a jump in digital basket sizes; 44 percent of retailers saw cart sizes rise between 16 percent and 30 percent, and 11 percent of retailers stated that average order values (AOVs) were up 51 percent from pre-pandemic levels.

Overall, 12 percent of consumers received their most recent online order by interacting with an employee or an in-store kiosk, according to an April 2022 PYMNTS and Cybersource survey of 13,114 consumers and 3,100 merchants.

Kohl’s first piloted self-pickup last summer in 12 stores, before expanding to 100 stores ahead of the holiday season. And complementing its current offering that enables shoppers to return Amazon purchases in Kohl’s stores, the department store also began offering self-service returns in 200 stores for its own products last fall.

“Our customers love the convenience of same-day, buy online, pick up in-store, and now we’re taking the experience to the next level. With some of the busiest months ahead for both customers and associates, we’re excited to offer Self-Pickup at every store for an easier and more efficient omnichannel experience,” Mc Feeney said.

Kohl’s didn’t immediately respond to inquiries about security around in-store self-pickup areas.

Kohl’s has made it more of a point to invest in efficient and more productive store experiences through technology, in a way that makes associates’ jobs easier through better tools, functionality and services. The company was ahead of the curve when it initially rolled out in-store pickup to all of its store locations in 2015.

In the company’s first-quarter earnings call in May, Kohl’s chief financial officer Jill Timm alluded to the changes.

“We’ll have self-pickup. The self-returns will continue to expand,” Timm said. “And then we’re doing more robust testing and self-checkout. So those are definite ways that we’ll be addressing the top expenses that we’re seeing as well as having some easier compares in fall based on the investments we made last year that we’re not having to make this year such as an incentive.”

With the expansion of self-pickup, Kohl’s has temporarily paused its Drive-Up curbside pickup option, which was added in 2020 while stores were closed in the early days of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Self-Pickup implementation comes as the department store hopes to inch toward its ambitious e-commerce goals. At its investor day meeting in March, Kohl’s set a target to grow its digital business to $8 billion, up from approximately $6 billion last year.

On Aug. 18, the company will report second-quarter earnings. Kohl’s already lowered its second-quarter sales estimates in July, from a low-single-digit decline to a high-single-digit decline, citing macroeconomic issues including inflation.