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Kohl’s ups mobile ante with incentivized back-to-school campaign

August 8, 2013

Kohl's relies on mobile for back-to-school

Kohl’s is giving mobile a more prominent role in its back-to-school campaign this year with a promotion that rewards consumers for shopping in-store and online.

The “Win Great Things” sweepstakes doles out online game pieces that consumers can use to win prizes for shopping at Kohl’s. Kohl’s ran the campaign last year as well, but has increased the prizes and the role of mobile this year through SMS.

“Unlike email, SMS provides immediacy since more than 95 percent of texts are ready within four minutes,” said Jeff Hasen, chief marketing officer of Mobivity, Phoenix.

“If Kohl’s relied exclusively on email, the retailer’s communication would likely be buried in many customer email inboxes,” he said. “Smart marketers long-ago planned for back-to-school, building databases and giving themselves a critical edge in breaking through the clutter.”

Mr. Hasen is not affiliated with Kohl’s. He commented based on his expertise on the subject.

Kohl’s did not respond to press inquiries.

Mobile schooling
Earlier this week, Kohl’s sent out an SMS blast to consumers that promoted its “Win Great Things” sweepstakes.

The SMS blast informs consumers that if they spend $30 or more at Kohl’s, they can receive $5 off of a $50 purchase at Staples.

The message also includes a link that drives consumers to the microsite for the campaign.

The Kohl’s SMS message

When consumers click-through on the link they can learn more about the sweepstakes and how they can enter by shopping either in-store or online.

For every $30 that consumers spend, they will receive one game piece to win prizes from brands including Keurig, Apple’s iTunes and JanSport. When an in-store shopper spends the required amount, they are given a game piece with a code on it that can be typed into Kohl’s microsite.

Online shoppers will receive an email after they make a purchase with their code, according to Kohl’s.

In addition to the prizes from different brands, there is also an instant win component that is doling out Kohl’s gift cards. The in-store game pieces can be scratched off and online shoppers can enter the code online to see if they are a winner.

Kohl’s will give out 50 $1,000 gift cards this year for the instant win portion of the campaign.

Kohl’s mobile site

Kohl’s ran a similar initiative last year for back-to-school shopping, but has upped the amount that consumers need to spend from $25 to $30 this year (see story).

Additionally, the SMS component this year keeps the campaign top-of-mind for consumers who have already shown an interest in receiving promotions and offers from Kohl’s.

A Kohl’s and Staples partnership is also new this year. In-store shoppers that spend $30 or more at either Kohl’s or Staples will receive a coupon at checkout that they can use at the other retailer.

Kohl’s shoppers can receive $5 off of a $50 purchase at Staples. Staples shoppers will receive $10 off of a $30 purchase at Kohl’s.

Mobile’s role grows
Mobile’s role in back-to-school campaigns has grown for brands this year around connecting with younger audience who are almost guaranteed to have a mobile device on-hand while shopping.

Compared to past years, it seems many retailers this year are viewing back-to-school marketing as a way to strengthen their long-term mobile strategies.

For example, Macy’s created a college-themed mobile microsite and leveraged SMS this year for a promotion that also built up the retailer’s mobile database (see story).

Additionally, Office Depot rolled out an augmented reality feature to its iPhone app to support the launch of limited edition products. The app update also mobilized the Office Depot Rewards program (see story).

“This back-to-school season is unlike the previous with more showrooming, calls-to-action at the point-of-sale, rewards for loyalty and purchases by mobile devices,” Mr. Hasen said.

“Retailers who have failed to prepare with such basics as mobile Web sites will undoubtedly suffer,” he said.

Final Take
Lauren Johnson is associate reporter on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York

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