What Your Business Can Learn from Kohl's Branding Methods
Kohl's has long been an industry leader when it comes to successfully marketing its brand and anticipating what customers want. Even when sales slumped in 2013 and 2014, the marketing team was hard at work at continuing to reinvent the stores image. The Kohl's personality is based on a three-concept system -- brands, value and convenience.
If you sell unique goods, you need to make sure your brand stands out as the top-performing brand in your industry. Otherwise, you're going to need to ride on the backs of more popular brands until you have enough capital to push your own forward. One way to do this is to advertise other brands to draw customers in, and then advertise your own in-store. Even if customers don't leave with your company's items, they should leave with an understanding of the features and qualities that make your brand different from all the rest. Kohl’s has long been a great supporter for unique celebrity brands which in turn draws in more customers for their own merchandise.
Value typically equates to price in the business world, but if you can't afford to beat out other companies on price, then you must beat them with service. Learn what your customers want, and be willing to go the extra mile to give them what they can't get elsewhere. If you sell shoes, have an area set up in the store where they can walk the entire length of the store in the shoes. That's something that seems obvious, but few shoe stores have available. If you sell outdoor gear, have specialists on staff that can help give professional advice on the best gear, which is based on real, practical experience. Offer a return policy that other stores can't match. Whatever you do, make it unique to your store, so that even if customers go elsewhere, they will still remember the excellent service at your store.
Convenience is one of the biggest factors in making your store stand out amidst the competition. Offer online shopping and in-store pickup on your website. Make it easy for customers to return or exchange items or even provide free shipping. Use loyalty programs attached to a phone number or mobile app, so customers don't have to dig through their wallets for a rewards card. Kohl’s recently has also been serving customers with coupons for kohls.com through discountrue. This kind of advertising and discount service gets a brand noticed and more valued by shoppers. Finding new ways to bring in customers sometimes requires you to exclude certain portions of the population. Successful stores like Kohl’s know that you can't please everyone, so it's a good idea to narrow your focus and figure out your highest-selling demographic. Once you are able to secure a foothold, then you can start to think about expansion into other areas.
Image Courtsey of Mike Mozart