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Kohl’s drives back-to-school shopping via mobile initiative

August 21, 2012

The Kohl's mobile site

Kohl’s is running a time-sensitive campaign to reward consumers who shop in-store, online and through mobile.

The campaign gives consumers who spend $25 or more at Kohl’s a daily unique game piece that can be entered online to win prizes such as gift cards and prize packs. The “Shop It To Win It” campaign runs through Sept. 3.

“Although mobile is moving more and more into the transactional realm, it also plays an important role in brand awareness and brand building,” said Tom Nawara, vice president of emerging solutions and innovation at Acquity Group, Chicago.

“This particular brand recognized the important intersection of mobile gamer and product purchase influencer,” he said.

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

Kohl’s did not respond to press inquiries.

Mobile incentive
Consumers who shop through Kohl’s mobile site,, in-store or through a Kohl’s kiosk will receive a game piece for each $25 they spend.

Each game piece is an eight-digit code that can be redeemed at

To participate, consumers need to fill out an entry form, which contains contact information such as name, address and phone number.

Kohl’s claims that one in every ten game pieces are loaded with prizes.

The grand prize for the sweepstakes is a $5,000 Kohl’s gift card in addition to a $1,000 gift card for three friends of the winner. Other prizes include iTunes gift cards, Yankee candles, JanSport products, tablets and coffee brewers.

The campaign also incorporates social media.

Kohl’s is using a Twitter hashtag, #ShopItToWinIt, which users can tweet to and see if they are an instant winner.

The campaign is being promoted across the company’s Web site and social media sites.

In addition to the sweepstakes, Kohl’s is also using SMS, Pinterest and Facebook to keep back-to-school shoppers in the loop this year.

The Shop It To Win It microsite

Mobile intentions
This is not the first time Kohl’s has used mobile around a seasonal event.

Kohl’s originally launched a multichannel campaign during the holiday season in 2010 with a mobile Web site (see story).

Additionally, last holiday season, the retailer rolled out a set of mobile tools to help educate shoppers on discounts and savings (see story).

With consumers comparison shopping, especially during back-to-school time, Kohl’s is smart to include a mobile component to its marketing to keep users coming back.

Additionally, stretching the promotion across multiple mediums is a smart way for Kohl’s to grab the widest group of shoppers.

Using a mobile game is a clever way for Kohl’s to drive both in-store and digital sales. By bundling the game into increments of $25, consumers are more likely to spend more.

“Organizations must always be cognizant of remaining true to their brand with any marketing initiatives, and must plan appropriately to avoid shiny object syndrome,” Mr. Nawara said.

“If done correctly, gaming can be a great piece of an overall mobile strategy for a brand,” he said. “For some that may mean a one-off application for a unique campaign, for others a mobile game may be the cornerstone of their engagement with consumers.”

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

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