Kohl’s Embarks on Plan to Beome the Most Engaging Retailer In the Nation

Kohl’s CEO, Kevin Mansell, has stated that he intends to turn Kohl’s into the most engaging retailer in the nation. Though, as Wisn.com tells us, the nationwide department store chain remains very profitable, Kohl’s will face an uphill climb before it can claim the title of “most engaging retailer in the nation.” The Milwaukee, Wisconsin Journal Sentinel informs us that Kohl’s recently ranked as number 22 on the Top 100 Retailers list which is published by the National Retail Federation. Kohl’s operates 1,160 department stores and had sales of $19 billion in 2013. Despite the seemingly impressive 2013 sales number, the retailer’s sales were actually down 1.3% from the year earlier. Kohl’s and other big box retailers are having to come to terms with rapidly changing technology as well as the resulting changes in the shopping habits of American consumers. The Milwaukee, Wisconsin Journal Sentinel reminds us of just how fast technology can evolve and change the entire market paradigm. According to the Journal Sentinel, just five years ago, Amazon ranked 25th on the list, behind retailers like Kohl’s, JC Penney, Sears, and Office Depot. Amazon now populates the 9th spot on the Top 100 Retailers list, and not surprisingly, Walmart dominates the list at a very strong number 1.

Both Amazon and Walmart have two distinct commonalities that have helped propel them further up the list. Both retailers have an extremely strong online presence. As the investment website, The Motley Fool tells us, despite having a tough time at turning higher profits, Amazon is still growing at a double digit rate.

One might presume that Kohl’s plan for increasing their level of engagement focuses on expanding their online presence, and that presumption would be true in part. According to Wisn.com, Kohl’s CEO, Kevin Mansell, blames the department store chain’s stagnant sales on economic weakness and changes in the overall retail marketplace. Mansell acknowledges that virtual retailing isn’t going away and stated as much when he committed the retailer to pursuing a multi-fronted attack saying that, “Virtual retailing is here to stay and growing… our focus is definitely on driving more traffic and getting customers back in to Kohl’s.” Mansell further said that, “We are having to evolve basically on every front.” Wisn.com goes on to tell us that Mansell wants to create a “seamless” experience for Kohl’s shoppers in which the retailer’s online presence will compliment and direct shoppers into the retailer’s brick and mortar stores where engaging associates will place a strong emphasis on enhancing the customer experience. Mansell expressed his commitment to pursuing excellence in customer service through developing Kohl’s associates when he said, “We’ve learned… if we build a great associate base and take care of our associates, they’re going to take care of the customer.”

Only time will tell if Kohl’s unique strategy of blending its online storefront with enhanced customer service at its brick and mortar locations will pay off. Until then, we know that cutting edge retailers like Amazon will continue to pursue growing their business, perhaps as the Inquisitr tells us, by placing Kindle tablets into the hands of every air breathing life form on Earth.