Think fast, think small: How Kohl’s rode the omnichannel wave

The “retail renaissance” is upon us if the headlines are to be believed, and several players who generated major worries that brick and mortar may never recover just five years ago are making triumphant comebacks. One such player is suburban big box retailer Kohl’s.

Kohl’s has made some significant changes to its operation in order to ride the very changeable wave that is the integration of e-commerce and brick and mortar retail, the most celebrated of which is a program to accept Amazon returns in some Kohl’s stores (even without packaging).

“We really only have one objective here, which is the key priority we have as a company is to drive traffic,” Kevin Mansell, Kohl’s former CEO said on a March earnings call with investors before his departure.

But what the 91-year-old chain can do with that traffic once it’s in the door is where the rubber meets the road, as Mansell admitted.

“We’re more focused on it being a great customer experience and making sure that the customer is happy when they do arrive in a Kohl’s store because that gives us the best opportunity to convert them into a sale,” he said.

How has the store answered the age-old question of how to turn traffic into sales? The answer is in its inventory management strategy.

Earlier this year, the company laid out a plan to change its purchasing and inventory management in order to get customers what they want faster and help them find it easier. The first step was to build a smaller box.

Read the full story at www.SupplyChainDive.com.

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Former Whole Foods Co-CEO Walter Robb Joins S2G Ventures as Exec-in-Residence

In the wake of Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods just over a year ago, some of the company’s brightest talent have been entering the agrifood tech investment ecosystem.

Former vice president of grocery Errol Schweizer is now on the board of farm to consumer delivery service Good Eggs, insect farm Aspire Food Group and a large handful of other startups. Former global director of local brands product innovation Elly Truesdell is now chief strategy officer at consumer packaged goods (CPG) investor Canopy Foods.

But, the brightest talent of these departures is former Whole Foods co-CEO Walter Robb, who saw the acquisition through and left the company to form Stonewall Robb Advisors in 2017 to advise, invest in and mentor individuals and organizations committed to social justice and animal welfare.

Today, Chicago-based agrifood VC S2G Ventures announced that Robb will serve as executive-in-residence at the firm, helping the team identify new investments and mentor portfolio entrepreneurs who are moving the food system toward sustainability and health.

Read the full story at www.AgFunderNews.com.