Kohl’s launches app for Apple Watch

Kohl’s Corp.
N56 W17000 Ridgewood Drive, Menomonee Falls
Innovation: Kohl’s app for Apple Watch

Menomonee Falls-based Kohl’s Corp. has launched a new app to be used on the buzz-inducing new Apple Watch.

The latest in a wave of technological wearable devices, the Apple Watch is like a tiny smartphone the user wears on his or her wrist. The ubiquitous technology company released its wearable at the end of April, and Kohl’s simultaneously launched its app for Apple Watch.

Kohl’s, which already offers a smartphone app, developed the Apple Watch app as a companion to offer customers quick access to their Kohl’s mobile wallets and savings offers while they’re on-the-go, said Julia Fennelly, corporate public relations manager for Kohl’s. Customers can use the device to track their coupons, the company’s Yes2You Rewards loyalty program, and its Kohl’s Cash cashback program, all of which can be scanned on the watch during checkout.

“With the Kohl’s app for Apple Watch, we are providing Kohl’s customers with a seamless experience that allows users access to the same amazing product and incredible savings they know and love from Kohl’s – right from their wrists,” Fennelly said. “The opportunity to create an app for Apple Watch was a logical extension of our mobile experience.”

The retailer is among the first to offer an app on the platform, capitalizing on the popularity of its mobile app. Since it was re-launched in October 2014, the Kohl’s mobile app, which previously had 400,000 active users, has been downloaded more than 6 million times.

J.C. Penney Co. Inc. and Amazon.com Inc. were also among the flurry of national retailers to jump into the Apple Watch ring with their own shopping apps. There were a total of 3,500 Watch apps available when the wearable launched. That’s more than the 1,000 apps available for the Apple iPad when it launched in April 2010 and the 500 apps available for the iPhone when it launched in July 2008.

Kohl’s has invested about $1 billion in IT over the past three years, and plans to double that investment over the next several years to drive innovation and a digital transformation, the company said.

The app was developed by the Kohl’s mobile team over a period of about eight weeks at the Kohl’s Digital Center in Milpitas, Calif. Ratnakar Lavu, Kohl’s executive vice president, digital technology, led the team that designed and developed the app, and conducted testing in partnership with Apple.

To use the Kohl’s app for Apple Watch, a user would download the Kohl’s app on his or her smartphone, then login to a Kohl’s mobile wallet account. The contents of the mobile wallet would then become available on the Apple Watch and sync automatically with the phone.

Kohl’s is also exploring the potential for targeting customers with special offers on their Apple Watches while they’re in the store.

While Kohl’s hasn’t developed apps for other smart watches on the market, it is “continuously exploring what our customers want and how they use their devices, including keeping an eye on trends and developing prototypes for new ideas,” Fennelly said.

“As one of the first retailers to leverage this platform, we are continuing to provide Kohl’s customers a simple, easy shopping experience that is highly personalized and tailored to their individual savings offers. Kohl’s notifications will also show up on Apple Watch, keeping Kohl’s at the front and center of our customers’ minds,” Fennelly said.

The Kohl’s app for Apple Watch offers customers access to in-store deals.

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