Retail News Updates: August 2019

woman in heels walking through mall holding shopping bags

The summer may be coming to an end, but the world of retail never stops. As we move closer and closer to one of the busiest times of year, we at SPAR have been keeping track of the latest news to shake up the retail industry. It’s a great idea to pay attention to what’s going on in retail so you’re always ahead of the next big thing in this highly competitive industry. Keep reading to get yourself up to date on some of the biggest retail news we’ve come across lately!

Kohl’s Traffic Soars Via In-Store Amazon Returns

Back at the beginning of the summer, we talked about the fact that Kohl’s would begin accepting Amazon returns at any of their 1,150 locations across the country- no box, label, or additional fee required! The Kohl’s CEO stated that this move was part of a plan to increase traffic at Kohl’s stores, and this effort has clearly paid off- since the start of this initiative last month, traffic at Kohl’s has risen 24%. This increase occurred over a three-week period, which is a huge indicator that Amazon buyers are taking advantage of the opportunity to make their returns at their nearest Kohl’s. According to location data advertising firm inMarket, shorter visits (lasting under five minutes) saw the highest increase. These visits were likely made by consumers simply visiting the store to return a product from Amazon. Longer visits increased as well, which shows great potential for sales increases as more and more people visit Kohl’s and decide to shop around once they’ve made their return.

Tiffany & Co. Launches Jewelry Line for Men

Tiffany & Co. knows its audience, and this high-end jewelry retailer is in the process of expanding its offerings to cater to a more diverse range of shoppers. The company recently announced that come October, they will be offering a complete line of jewelry for men, featuring around 100 new designs. With jewelry becoming more prominent in men’s fashion, the company hopes to attract younger shoppers and diversify their target markets to increase their sales, which have recently been declining. In the stores themselves, the men’s line will be displayed separately from other merchandise, making it a focal point for men who visit the store to purchase jewelry for the women in their lives. Retail experts have mixed opinions about this move- some feel like it’s a smart one because of the fact that men are already visiting Tiffany stores, while others are skeptical regarding the average male shopper’s interest in the product.

Nike Debuts Sneaker Subscription Service for Kids

Subscription services are nothing new when it comes to retail, but Nike is entering this realm for the first time with a subscription opportunity based entirely around kids. Nike Adventure Club was announced mid-August, and will give parents the option of receiving four, six, or twelve pairs of sneakers per year, for either $20, $30, or $50 per month (depending on the amount of sneakers chosen). Kids can choose from a selection of around 100 sneakers, which will be delivered straight to their homes. The program is targeted towards parents who don’t live near a shoe store or Nike location, and who are frustrated with the hassle of shopping for kids’ shoes. The general manager of this new program, Dave Cobban, stated that the company had found a pain point around parents shopping for shoes for their kids, and that the program would provide them with a unique solution. Kids can choose the shoes they want, and parents won’t have to constantly return to the store every time the shoes are outgrown. This service also gives Nike the opportunity to experiment with new sales methods, and if it is a success, potentially expand it to adult shoppers as well.

SPAR’s Take

The Kohl’s Amazon partnership is brilliant, and massively risky – for Kohl’s. That being said, one of the main goals for all retailers is to increase store visits. The numbers prove this is working. Another goal is to increase dwell time – the numbers are split here – but that’s ok – we will watch this trend closely. The challenge will come in conversion – it always does. Will Kohl’s be able to convert these potentially new shoppers into customers? And what will the cost of acquisition really be – that number would be very interesting to see.

Why shouldn’t Tiffany offer a men’s line? Line extensions and new products are the lifeblood of all retailers – and a potentially untapped segment is very attractive. Jewelry is certainly much more prominent on the men’s side – should be interesting to see if they can succeed with such a feminine appearing brand.

And Nike and yet another subscription plan. I fear this will fail – but why not try it. My gut tells me that this type of subscription would be more effective with an affluent shopper. Yet, they say they are targeting those that don’t live close to a store? Do these two things match up? Perhaps it’s the convenience factor – time will tell if parents are really that attracted to this?

Reach Your Full Retail Potential with Help from SPAR

At SPAR, helping retail stores thrive is our business. We want to keep you informed on the latest retail news, but we also want to help keep your store up to date and operating at its greatest potential through our variety of comprehensive retail services. Whether your store is in need of assembly & installation services, new merchandising solutions, expert programmatic services, or a new store set and remodel, our team of retail experts has what it takes to get the job done. We’ll keep you informed every step of the way, no matter what your store needs. To learn more about SPAR and how we can take your retail business to the next level, please contact us today!