Would you let Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) pick out your clothes for you? Well, Kohl's (NYSE:KSS) thinks the social media platform has a pulse on what people will want to buy and is partnering with the site to devise a selection of emerging brands that will resonate with millennial consumers.
Called Curated by Kohl's, the department-store chain will tap into the social media behemoth's insights to identify brands with robust online communities that it believes its customers can relate to across numerous categories, including apparel, accessories, and home goods. The resulting collections will be sold at 50 Kohl's department stores and on its Kohls.com website.
The partnership continues the unique vision of CEO Michelle Gass of how best to keep physical retail relevant in the age of Amazon.com, such as her partnership with the e-commerce giant to have Kohl's serve as a returns drop-off point for Amazon customers. After expanding the program nationally, Kohl's has indicated that the service is creating more store traffic, leading to more sales.
Everyone's doing it
This latest tie-up with Facebook is part of a larger trend among retailers to offer smaller, more focused collections that allow customers to embark on a treasure hunt of sorts to discover new trends.
Macy's (NYSE:M), for example, recently launched Story, a store-within-a-store boutique that features a revolving assortment of merchandise where it introduces customers to a brand where they may have little experience with the products, at least in the case of its partnership with Dick's Sporting Goods.
Macy's also allowed Facebook to open small, pop-up businesses inside the department store to showcase 100 popular small businesses and digital brands as determined by users of Facebook and Instagram during the holiday season last year.
Target (NYSE:TGT) began targeting male grooming needs with a specialized line called Goodfellow & Co. that's available in its stores and online, and is poised to become a billion-dollar brand for the retailer next year. Kohl's previously targeted millennial customers by launching an apparel line last September with rising media and lifestyle brand Popsugar.
Kohl's wanted to tap into Popsugar's data and analytics to "bring key predictive insights to tell us exactly what this customer wants through the content they are searching, browsing and engaging with across channels."
So this Facebook partnership is not so much a new direction for Kohl's, but rather an additive one.
A new way to frame fast fashion
The department-store chain will be testing out its own curated ideas in October, setting up companies like body-positivity lingerie specialist Adore Me and pop-up card designer Lovepop. In the spring of 2020, Facebook and Kohl's will collaborate to curate the roster of brands that will appear in stores and then change out every quarter.
Kohl's continues to think differently about how it wants to meet the needs of its customers. Assessing brands through the lens of Facebook could help the department store find ways to appeal to the masses, but it also shows just how enmeshed the social media network has become in our lives. The project could also help make Kohl's always able to get the fast-changing sense of fickle fashion trends right.
Growing sales is still most important for Kohl's, however, and bringing in brands that millennials appreciate could be one of the keys to achieving it.
This article has been updated to better reflect how Kohl's new brand initiative with Facebook.