You May Save a Little with an In-Store Kohl's Kiosk, but is it Worth it?
I was browsing my neighborhood Kohl's one evening, and what should catch my eye but a cute, reasonably-priced pair of black ballet flats. Looking down at my own well-worn pair, I realized that my current footwear was just days away from retirement. I couldn't, erm, walk away from this potential purchase ... except the store didn't have a single pair that fit my less-than-dainty feet.
Rather than pleading with a manager to call other stores or trudging home empty-handed (silently cursing genetics), I looked for one of the store's kiosks, which Kohl's has placed on the floor for just this type of scenario. The Kohl's Kiosk lets you order anything you can't find in-store, online, and you can have it shipped to your home for free. For a shopper already at Kohl's, the kiosk is an appealing option when the store's stock doesn't offer your size or preference.
But, since I work for a deal site, I know that at any given moment, there's a Kohl's coupon floating around that can be redeemed online. I wondered if I could use one of those coupons at the kiosk as well, since I was effectively shopping online on the Kohl's website. And if I could, when combined with free shipping, is there an advantage to using the in-store kiosks for certain items over shopping exclusively online at home?
The Kohl's Kiosk of KonvenienceThe easiest way to use the kiosk is to have the item in question in hand. This way you can easily scan its barcode, and search the Kohl's website. Without the barcode, you'll have to type in the name of the item you're looking for, a not so easy task; I naturally opted to scan the shoes instead.
Since the kiosk houses the online version of the Kohl's shopping experience — a site with which I am more than familiar — I had no problem navgating the interface. Select a color. Select a size. Add to cart. Done. (If, for some reason, you have trouble finding your way around, there's a button on the lower left-hand side that summons a Kohl's representative to assist with your order.) And, given that it's just a free-standing version of the Kohl's website, you're still able to use up to two coupons (as well as up to two Kohl's Cash coupons) per order. That means the coupons users find through dealnews can still be applied to in-store purchases, without needing the printable version you'd typically present at the register.
A Distinct Advantage to Shopping the KiosksOne of the most promising perks to using the kiosk is receiving free shipping with no minimum required. At the time I made my purchase, the current promotion for at-home Kohls.com shoppers was free shipping with a $25 purchase. My shoes were less than $25 however, so I was taking advantage of a (slightly) better deal by buying online in-store, instead of buying online at home.
With the swipe of my credit card, and a press of the "confirm order" button, my purchase was complete. A hard copy of my receipt was printed out for me, and I was notified via email that my order was about to be processed. Less than a week later, my perfect flats arrived in the mail.
But Nothing's Perfect: Some Notable Limitations
My biggest qualm with the Kohl's Kiosk is its touchscreen, which was especially problematic when I had to input my contact information. While not everything can be as responsive as the latest touchscreens on tablets, it took me several minutes to fill out a simple form. Having an external keyboard and mouse, for instance, would have rectified this issue. (I was super grateful for the credit card swiper and barcode scanner, as it meant less time trying to mash the virtual keyboard with the palms of my hands.)
Also, the Kohl's store I visited only had two kiosks: one in the shoe department, and one in the customer service area. These kiosks were not there for show — people were waiting in line to use them. (The waits may have been extended due to the less-than-responsive touchscreen.) Based on this shopping experience, I find it would be ideal to have several kiosks in the apparel departments, where they'd be especially relevant.
So as a Deal-Seeker, is a Kohl's Kiosk Worth Trying?The usefulness of the Kohl's Kiosk really does depend on the scenario. If you're hesitant to buy clothes online for fear they won't actually fit, then having access to the kiosk means you can go in-store to ease any concerns about fit while still making use of online promotions, even if they aren't extended to in-store purchases.
You might have to, you know, get up and go to the store, but at least you can still use digital coupons in addition to Kohl's Cash, and there's the promise of free shipping at the end. Thus, it can potentially yield better offers than accessing the Kohl's website from your home computer or smartphone, even if there's no in-store printable coupon to be had at the time. The kiosks are also useful if you're making an in-store exchange and the item you desire is not in stock.
It should be noted, however, that since Black Friday, Kohl's has been no stranger to offering sitewide free shipping (or even 99-cent shipping per item). In fact, had I waited several days later to purchase my shoes, I would have been able to yield the same discount by purchasing the flats online from my laptop, as Kohl's offered yet another sitewide free shipping promotion.
Aside from items which you may be weary of ordering blind (like shoes and apparel), there's no real reason to drive to your nearest Kohl's just to use a modded version of its website. The amount of money you'd save, if any, would likely be minimal. And even if you did go to the store, found the item you needed and had a printable coupon (which Kohl's frequently offers in conjunction with online codes), there'd be no reason for you not to just buy it on site!
The Kohl's Kiosk was certainly advantageous to browse for the perfect-fitting shoes, and yes, I did save a few bucks on shipping. But for anything else, such as cookware, luggage, or bedding, I'll be just fine buying online from the comfort of my own home, and saving money via online coupons and shipping discounts.
Have you used a Kohl's Kiosk? If so, was it useful for you? If not, would you consider trying it? Sound off in the comments below.
Photo credits top to bottom: Mailboxr, The Columbus Dispatch,
and San Francisco Chronicle