Saturday, March 26, 2011

Kohl's Kiosk - interesting idea, many issues remain

I've been a fan of Kohl's for a quite a while,. They've been my primary source for sneakers for many years. Their quality and selection are way above Walmart, without the pricey "brand attitude" of say Macy's. I've been reluctant to buy sneakers online because I really want to try them on before buying. Recently however, as the inventory seems be more tightly managed, I've had trouble finding my size and style, especially during promotions, when stock gets depleted quickly. I've never ordered online from Kohl's because I don't like to pay shipping, so I've often delayed footwear purchases until I find my size during a sale. When I do find them, I've been known to buy more than one pair, because I don't mind stocking up when I'm getting a good deal. Recently, our local Kohl's store introduced a kiosk where you can order online and have it shipped to your home (or anywhere) with no shipping charge. Frequently I shop online from home and take advantage of free in-store pick up to avoid shipping charges.

I was shopping for sneakers today at Kohl's and found a style that I liked at a good price. Unfortunately, there was no 1o.5 wide available. I tried on size 10 wide - it was not bad, but a little short. I tried the 11 wide, it was definitely loose in the heel. I decided I would give the kiosk a try to get my usual 10.5 wide. I had a little trouble with the responsiveness of the touch screen, and finding the wide sizes wasn't completely intuitive, but I managed to get them into my cart. I navigated to check out, and realized I had 2 pair in my cart, a 10.5 regular, and a 10.5 wide. I deleted one and then scanned my Kohl's charge card; however, I then realized I had deleted the wide, and was about to order the regular, so I tried to go back before completing the check out, and got this:
bluemartini anyone? I pressed the button for assistance, heard a page, "Customer Assistance to the Kiosk in shoes." Reassured, I waited...., and waited. The page repeated. "Customer Assistance to the Kiosk in shoes." I waited some more. While waiting, I tried the home button, which was still visible at the bottom the screen. I tried the exit button. Neither responded. So I used the brick and mortar exit.

Closing thoughts. I would be a lot more inclined to buy from Kohl's online if I could do it from home with free or low cost shipping. Shipping to the store is preferable to me because I can pick up the order at my convenience. I certainly wouldn't wait in line to use their in-store Kiosk. I'm sure they figure if they can get people into the store many will buy something else while there. Have you ever waited for someone to pick a movie from Redbox? How long would you stand there waiting to use the in-store kiosk, while a clown like me tries to figure it out? Do you want an audience of fellow shoppers looking over your shoulder at the big screen while you shop online? Have you tried in-store online shopping? What did you think?

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