Kohl’s VP of Technology, Shweta Bhatia heads up the retailer’s in-store learning labs. These labs test innovative technology solutions and then scale them across Kohl’s entire chain of 1,000+ stores. Bhatia had this to say about her philosophy:
“We focus on two things: Keeping it simple and making it actionable. Making it simple is the complicated part.”
Irad Ben-Gal joined Bhatia for the CB4-hosted Big Ideas Panel at NRF 2019. Ben-Gal is the head of the AI and Business Analytics Lab at Tel Aviv University. He’s also the co-founder of CB4. Kohl’s is collaborating with CB4 to increase net sales by improving Kohl’s customer experience.
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Stats show the need.
According to PwC: 54% of U.S. consumers believe that brands need to improve their in-store customer experience. A shocking 32% of customers will leave a brand they love after just one bad experience.
Tech is only as valuable as it is actionable.
Kohl’s uses AI to glean actionable insights from otherwise cumbersome reports – and to see things that the human eye can’t. Bhatia explains:
“We know that the Kohl’s shopper is very mission-driven. Every single time that customer shops with us, we want to make sure that it feels frictionless and that she is able to complete the mission either in the store or on our digital channels.”
Kohl’s backed up that talk in 2018 by:
- introducing mobile checkout
- increasing product visibility
- identifying ‘local favorites’ and making sure they’re easy to buy
- improving replenishment and inventory management
- optimizing pricing and promotions.
What’s a ‘local top seller’?
Large retailers typically have a list of chain-wide top sellers. These are popular items that sell in high volumes at most locations across a chain. Store managers and associates take pains to ensure these items are in-stock and easily visible, with clear signage and pricing.
Ben-Gal introduced the concept of a ‘local top seller.’ A ‘local top seller’ is an item that often is not on a chain-wide top seller list but is still very popular amongst local customers at specific Kohl’s locations. These items sell in high volumes at these locations, but aren’t easy to detect because they aren’t uniformly popular across the chain.
CB4’s engine can identify local top sellers and detect when a floor execution issue is creating friction in the shopping experience. Some examples include:
- An item that’s hard to see because it’s on a low shelf
- An item that’s hidden behind other items or a large sign
- An item whose price tag or signage is wrong or confuses shoppers
- An item that’s out of stock or mistakenly left in backstock
All of these issues hurt sales by making it more difficult for today’s mission-driven shoppers to easily buy what they want. When they affect a local top-seller, the damage to a store’s bottom line is significant.
CB4 quickly alerts store managers when floor execution issues are affecting local top-sellers, prompting them to investigate and fix the issue. The store manager will then note the actual issue they find. This feedback helps CB4’s engine fine-tune the next set of recommendations. Eventually, this feedback can Kohl’s a clear view of any systematic challenges across their chain.
How to determine my stores’ local top sellers.
CB4 works with large retailers you know and love. We also work with convenience stores, grocers, and pharmacies with 30 – 50 locations. If you’re curious about how these retailers are increasing net new sales with CB4 technology, ask for a demo or simply email firstname.lastname@example.org with two words: “show me.”