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Kohls' new liberal Amazon return policy and how it could help it beat both Walmart and Target

6 months ago by James Mattone in Features, Markets

Want to increase foot traffic at your retail locations? Accept returns from millions of Amazon shoppers at all of your stores.

Kohl's ($NYSE:KSS) recently expanded a major partnership with online retail giant Amazon ($NASDAQ:AMZN) to allow returns of eligible products ordered on Amazon at any of Kohl's stores, regardless of whether or not the ordered product has a box, a label, or is even a product sold by Kohl's. That means an Amazon customer can forgo sending back an unwanted product to Amazon in favor of going to Kohl's.

The program was originally test-launched in Milwaukee, Los Angeles, and Chicago, but is now coming to 1,160 Kohl's locations.

Why is this significant? Because Kohl's is competing for the same consumer base that shops at places such as Walmart ($NYSE:WMT) and Target ($NYSE:TGT).

Before Amazon, these big-box retailers were the one-stop-shop for practically anything someone would need. Food? Clothes? Chairs? A TV? Toys? They have all that and more.

Now that Amazon has become the king of retail, these brick-and-mortar giants are competing with the convenience of Amazon. Both Walmart and Target offer e-commerce alternatives while also maintaining a vast physical presence. That combined presence is larger than Kohls' by a longshot; even taking out Walmarts Supercenters and just relying on standard Walmart location, the largest big box retailer in the world has a footprint bigger than Kohl's.

But, with this novel and liberal return partnership, coupled with the company stocking Amazon products, Kohl's is taking a unique approach to the problem of an ever-evolving retail market.

As Walmart and Target continue to take on Amazon, Kohl's decided to partner with this change to the retail industry. In theory, a shopper may come into Kohl's to return something bought on Amazon, only to see dozens of brands on display, spend some time shopping, and either buy those products then and there to get some sweet Kohl's Cash or go right back on Amazon to get them shipped over.

Will this pay off for Kohl's? Time will tell. But as we see the data today, maybe this is the push Kohl's needs to expand past the likes of its larger competitors.

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James Mattone

James is the Associate Editor at Thinknum Media, mainly covering video games, food, and tech news, but not afraid to head into Sephora or beauty brands if need be...

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