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You May Save a Little with an In-Store Kohl's Kiosk, but is it Worth it?

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By Alison Barretta, dealnews Senior Content Editor

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 Konvenience

The 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 Kiosks

One 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


Follow @dealnewsfeature on Twitter for the latest roundups, price trend info, and stories. You can also sign up for an email alert for all dealnews features.

Please note that, although prices sometimes fluctuate or expire unexpectedly, all products and deals mentioned in this feature were available at the lowest total price we could find at the time of publication (unless otherwise specified).
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9 comments
dealnews-Alison
@slicksj Interesting point. That can certainly be considered another limitation to the Kiosk.
slicksj
I agree it is helpful, when you do not have the acutal 30% coupon in hand.

1 limitations of the kohls kiosk is if you get a clearance item which may be left only in that specific store, it may not be available only.
dealguy
I have GOT to try that.
theforceofg
I shop online a lot and in terms of what you get etc, Macy's and Amazon are far better options for buying cloths than kohls in terms of customer service,return policies, and quality
dealnews-Alison
@MalibuAce Thanks for the tip! And I see I am not alone, re: the touchscreen. An external keyboard/mouse would certainly improve the experience.
MalibuAce
Agreed, entering info on the Kiosk is horrible. A little tip; if you want to know the current coupon codes, just look for a paper taped to the back (sort of a cheat sheet for employees). You can also check the coupon codes and use them by telling the cashier the code if you want to check out there.
lucki16
@jsnow14 .... that manager was just stupid then, I worked at Kohls and we were told that as long as they put $0.01 on their Kohls card they got the 30% off.
 
I like the kiosks because of the free shipping, sometimes I can be impatient and I drive past a Kohls everyday to work, so it is easier stopping in and being able to get the free shipping plus my discounts!
raiderspe
Agreed the touchscreen experience on this thing blows, takes forever and extremely frustrating.  Also you cannot use the Friends and Family in-store only coupons on the machine, even though you are technically in store.
jsnow14
Another advantage of the kiosk - bypass rules of an unbendable store manager. 

Went to Kohls shortly after the holidays with my Kohls card, a 30% coupon and $150 in gift cards.  After being rung up and the 30% taken off, the total came to $250, so I handed over the gift cards, and said I'd put the balance ($100) on my Kohls card.  They told me that I was not allowed to use the gift cards if I was using the 30% coupon, that I had to put the whole thing on my kohls charge.  They handed over some story about a new bank taking over, blah, blah, blah...I went along with it and put the entire amount on my Kohls charge, and then headed straight back to customer service with my purchase.

After debating with the manager, I returned everything.  I then went back through the store and picked up the same items that I had purchased and took them to the kiosk.  After scanning everything in, I was able to use ALL of my gift cards AND get the 30% off. 
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