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Kohl’s: Big Box Retailers Can Drive Local Traffic Through Store Pages, Map Consistency

Thinking national-to-local means prioritizing local SEO.

Large enterprise businesses benefit from name recognition, making it (ideally) simpler to drive brand awareness. But it can be a much greater challenge to drive foot traffic and sales at diverse store locations — a Walmart in Chicago is very different from one in small-town Arkansas — as well as to comprehensively manage hundreds of local listings.

At last week’s Napa Summit, two representatives from Kohl’s sat down following a local strategy keynote to discuss what it means to think national-to-local — and the chain’s next proximity marketing moves.

GeoMarketing: What, to you, is the key to success in local? As a big box retailer, how do you drive foot traffic to all of your diverse local locations?

Kevin Boger, analyst: Great question. I would say right now that one key for us is to really look to build out our local store pages.

These pages are pretty generic in information and functionality. So we’re looking to implement reviews and create more rich content, similar to what we talked about in [the earlier discussion on local SEO strategy]. We want to provide more unique information about the locations — that’s what drives those crucial map results, and then you can start tracking metrics like directions, stuff like that. [The customers who actually searched for] directions to your store are much more likely to convert, so tracking that is important.

Tracking those searches and then [attributing them], that’s what tells us if there was a conversion, whether it was a visit, or ultimately a purchase, or not.

Omnichannel has lost some of its luster as a buzzword, but tying together the online and offline is now a must. How is Kohl’s building the “omnichannel” experience? 

From an omnichannel standpoint, we’ve been successful with BOPIS — our buy online, pickup in store program that we launched about a year ago. Customers want to buy and pick up in the most convenient way they can.

We think the store pages, as I mentioned before, would be a good channel for driving that. We could work with inventory feeds from the stores to potentially drive purchases through BOPIS and the store pages, and that would then lead to visits to the stores as well.

And then there’s a lot we’re doing internally, and having lots of success with some of those strategies. Sergio can talk more about that.

How does proximity marketing play a role in the in-store experience? Does Kohl’s have plans for the future involving a potential beacon rollout — or any other technology — that you can share?  

Sergio Piraino, mobile marketing manager: [It’s] in the works. We’re just strategizing this year and probably next year on what we want to do with beacons.

Whether we’re driving contact, whether we’re driving offers, whether it’s providing reviews… we’re in the initial stages.

I think that beacons are about driving engagement, and in a way that can surprise and delight.

It’s easy to find an offer — it’s not going to be just about that. I think it’s the drive to conversion — in, like I said, a way that generates that ‘surprise and delight.’

That could be a surprise invite, whether for an event or an offer to sign up for a Kohl’s card. Or a reminder to use what you have in your wallet, whether it’s the Apple Wallet, Snap and Pay… or “Hey, you have Kohl’s Cash or you have an offer, use it.” Those are the kind of things that really help customers to live their lives.