Kohl’s introduced digitally-native brands to its beauty aisle—a move that could drive holiday sales but overlooks the retailer’s more substantial problems.

WHAT HAPPENED: Kohl’s launched Beauty Checkout, a quarterly rotation of 13 digitally-native beauty and wellness brands, available in 200 stores and online. The retailer partnered with Facebook and Instagram to determine which brands to include in this program.


  • Kohl’s wants Beauty Checkout to inspire discovery and a sense of newness; however, more products could add to Kohl’s over-crowded sales floor. If Kohl’s introduces new products to its assortment, it needs to reevaluate what it currently sells and be sure it represents a balance of both legacy players and newness. Kohl’s customers are likely interested in discovery, but many consumers might flock to Kohl’s to buy their favorite brands. It will take time and focus to convince customers to try a digitally-native brand that they haven’t heard of before.
  • Beauty Counter won’t help Kohl’s stand out among the competition. Nordstrom, Target, and JCPenny have all launched similar initiatives around promoting digitally-native brands in-store. Beauty giants Sephora and Ulta have created beauty incubator programs, making it especially tricky for Kohl’s Beauty Counter to stand out this holiday season. Macy’s similarly partnered with Facebook last year for its “Market @ Macy’s” pop-up. While new brands have emerged since last year, the new initiative might not excite consumers the way that Kohl’s anticipates since it’s far from a first-mover. Kohl’s should determine what private-label products it could introduce to enhance its beauty assortment and deliver a better profit margin, relying on the time-tested tools a multi-brand retailer has at its disposal.