Keeping note of how major brands interact with their customers can give you a better idea of how they’re adapting to meet modern needs. We’ll look at recent developments in late summer and early fall for Costco, Kohl’s, Target, and Walmart/Sam’s Club and what their themes can tell you about consumers today.
The popularity of Costco as a whole has only grown as of late, largely due to its continued awareness of a number of relevant issues. Even as grocery store demand has leveled off, Costco hasn’t seen the same dip in sales.
Between supply chain hiccups and pandemic demand, Costco is doing what it can to be proactive:
- The company has hired its own vessels for urgent deliveries and limited the number of essential items that an individual can purchase.
- The company has sold more memberships to ready customers for its new warehouse in Viera and reintroduced sampling to its customers.
- Costco introduced new holiday items to customers and gave special discounts of up to 30% in October for a variety of items.
- The brand is becoming more synonymous with sustainability as of late with the help of new packaging and more general attention to environmental concerns.
The company's sales have soared, though it remains relatively silent about the details behind rumored new stores in areas like North Seattle.
Kohl’s has been focused on its philanthropy and cultural influence as of late. Its initiatives in September included donating beauty products to Project Glimmer, supporting electric vehicles, and celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month. It also gave $5 million to Alliance for a Healthier Generation and $75,000 to Ronald McDonald House Charities (Eastern Wisconsin). Kohl’s is also readying customers for the holiday with tips for navigating the shopping season and debuting this year’s toy list.
The brand is also introducing a number of new offers for customers:
- Opening new Sephora shop-in-shops
- Exclusive partnership with Cara Santana for the new Fall Nine West Collection
- Debuting the Yummy Sweater Co. both in stores and online
- Stocking Calvin Klein loungewear, intimates, and basics for men and women
- Expanding men’s selection with launch of the Tommy Hilfiger collection
The focus for this brand is on community and helping people in their area feel a bit more optimistic about what lies ahead. From back-to-school items to strong relationships with community programs, there’s been an emphasis on how they can best support the people who deserve it.
Like Kohl’s, Target has been doing more to display its diversity. It’s also been taking steps to give back to employees. The CIO is planning to retire soon, though, which could impact how the company is dealing with the challenges in the supply chain.
Here are the latest developments:
- Celebrated Hispanic Heritage Month at all locations. The company also celebrated Pride Month as well.
- Initiated better pay and training for employees during the holiday season. Target also offered 340,000 team members a debt-free degree.
- Adding 30,000 supply chain roles to prepare for the holidays.
- Initiated a new holiday price match guarantee.
- Opened Ulta mini-shops in stores and online.
- Expanded its Disney line and increased the number of exclusive products for its stores.
From cosmetics to razors to designer clothing items, Target is trying to help people acclimate back to a lifestyle that resembles what things were like prior to the pandemic. Leadership is also taking a more active interest in bringing attention to the diversity that has made this company so successful.
Walmart & Sam’s Club
Walmart & Sam’s Club have been getting ready for the holiday rush in an effort to curb the (many) inconveniences of supply chain disruptions. Walmart is also replacing traditional layaway with a new incremental payment plan.
- Walmart released its top-trending toys for the holidays.
- Walmart hires 150,000 new employees and gives 565,000 workers a raise.
- Walmart launches its Built for Better program to raise awareness for purpose-driven products.
- Sam’s Club and Walmart will now give booster shots.
- Walmart expanded its relationship with Buzzfeed with a more diverse Shoppable Content Empire.
The developments in September mirror some of the August initiatives, which included a push for bigger change in the world and more support for the more vulnerable members of society.
Trends and Themes
As these major retailers get ready for the big shopping season, it’s more than just what parents have to get for their kids this year or what’s the latest must-have product. We’re seeing a much bigger push for more significant changes, which is likely to drive the new year as well. Bay Cities salutes many of the initiatives for this year, particularly when it comes to sustainability and environmental awareness. We invite you to contact us if you want to know more about how the right packaging can boost your brand.