Kohl’s – Amazon Deal [Pt. 1]: The Art of an Incredible Biz Dev Deal & the 4-step Framework Behind It
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Kohl’s – Amazon Deal [Pt. 1]: The Art of an Incredible Biz Dev Deal & the 4-step Framework Behind It

Kohl's - Amazon Deal [Pt. 1]: The Art of an Incredible Biz Dev Deal & the 4-step Framework Behind It with Eric Beer

Kohl’s – Amazon Deal [Pt. 1]: The Art of an Incredible Biz Dev Deal & the 4-step Framework Behind It

The best way to understand another company’s customer journey is to go through it yourself.

I recently had to return a package I received from Amazon. But it turns out sometimes even the most seemingly mundane tasks can become a memorable experience. At least for business geeks such as myself.

Apparently, you can return stuff from Amazon without paying for shipping, but only if you send it through Kohl’s. And just by taking that little extra step, I witnessed an incredibly powerful business deal. First-hand, from the perspective of the consumer.

Even as I was going through the process, I immediately recognized the benefits for everyone – customers included.

Whenever I encounter this kind of strategic thinking, it truly makes me smile. After all, it’s one of the main reasons I love business so much. And biz dev deals such as this one helped me get to where I am today.

So for this week’s episode, I will reverse engineer this Kohl’s-Amazon partnership and share a simple 4-step framework for creating fantastic biz dev deals.

I hope you enjoy it!


How I Stumbled Onto the Incredible Kohl’s – Amazon Deal


Alright, so here’s what happened. 

I ordered some basketballs from Amazon, and they came in the wrong size, so I had to return them. However, to get free shipping, I had to drop them off at Kohl’s.

I drove over there, I go in with my six boxes, and they tell me I need to go to the back of the store. Mind you, I also have Ozzy, my little puppy Maltipoo, with me.

So there I was, Ozzy in one hand and dragging six stacked-up boxes with the other, walking past their entire store. And as you can assume, I’m starting to get a little uncomfortable.

I finally get there, and they process my return shipment in no time. Things are looking great! I even got a coupon for 25% off on any purchase in their store, along with some other promos.

Now, bear in mind, I’m not a Kohl’s customer, and I definitely wouldn’t be there unless I had a good enough reason. However, that day, after going through the entire process – I was. I bought several items, spent a couple of hundred dollars, and got some really cool stuff.

What first seemed to be a hellish chore of a task swiftly became an enjoyable experience. But more than anything, I was blown away by the ingenuity of Kohl’s strategic partnership with Amazon was.


What Makes This Kohl’s – Amazon Partnership so Great?


As I was walking through their store to return the stuff to Amazon, I quickly realized what was going on. In business, there’s no such thing as “free.” There are always strings attached.

From the perspective of a consumer, I was able to put together a solid understanding of what their deal probably looked like.

Amazon’s gains are pretty straightforward. They’re getting their stuff shipped back for free while providing a free service for their customers.

Kohl’s side of the deal may seem a bit riskier because they’re suffering the shipping cost, but it also has multiple benefits. 

For starters, by aligning themselves with a successful company such as Amazon, their brand stock goes up in the eyes of the consumer.

But more importantly, Kohl’s needs foot traffic. Now more than ever. By offering to cover shipping costs, they’re also guaranteed to get new leads with each return. 

And the great thing about it is, the service they’re providing is on their turf. They get to plan out your experience every step of the way, from the minute you walk through their door. It’s no accident you have to go through the entire store to return your package – that’s how they get impressions!

Not only that, but they also have a beautiful way of making an offer directly to new leads. My receipt is also a coupon AND a tracking ticket, which tells them if I bought anything (i.e. if their offer is working).

The best thing about it? Everybody wins! The customers are getting both free shipping for their return to Amazon and a pretty decent discount at Kohl’s. Win-win-win!

The deal is gorgeous, and it’s pure hustle. And anyone can make these kinds of deals!


The 4 Simple Steps to Making a Great Biz Dev Deal


Creating these strategic partnerships is how I grew my business too. It takes a little outside-the-box thinking, but every deal consists of these four key steps.


Step 1 – Get to Know Your Potential Partner


You have to understand how their business operates. How do they approach their customers? Are there any needs or wants that they have that you can supply?

The better you understand their processes, the easier it will be to figure out a way you can help.


Step 2 – Solve a Problem for Them


Is there a way you can provide a service or a solution that would make their business better and more efficient?

These deals are fantastic because they don’t require money out-of-pocket; you’re contributing with what you already have and leveraging it to reap the benefits.


Step 3 – Make Sure You Can Execute


Don’t go into a deal if you’re not 100% sure you can deliver. If not, those scenarios can get real messy and can have horrific consequences for your business.


Step 4 – Create an Offer for Their Audience


Finally, once you’re convinced you can fulfill your side of the deal, focus on making the most of what YOU’RE getting.

You now have direct access to someone else’s audience. Make those impressions count and create an enticing offer they won’t be able to say “No” to.



That’s it for part 1! 

Join me again next week for part 2 of this episode, where I share more tips on biz dev deals and show you how to apply them to the online world.

For more Performance Marketer content, sign up for my SurveyDetective VIP waitlist.

🕵️‍♂️ Sign up for the SurveyDetective VIP Waitlist HERE

Thanks for tuning in! See you next week!


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Read Full Transcript

Whoever you're looking to partner with, whatever you're looking for, whatever audience you want to tap into, the first thing you want to do is understand their business. You want to understand what they are doing? How do they... How do they operate? What do they do with those customers, and then see, are there any needs or wants that they have that you can supply?

I spent the last 17 years building my eight-figure performance business without using any of my own money, working with some of the most brilliant direct response marketers in the world today. Now I'm looking for entrepreneurs to join my affiliate army built on ethics, transparency, good old hard work. Join me to change the perception of how people view the greatest business in the world, affiliate marketing, and follow along, as I learn, apply, and share performance marketing strategies, working with some of the brightest people on the planet. My name is Eric Beer, and welcome to the Performance Marketer Podcast.

What's up guys, Eric here. Appreciate guys joining me today. And today we're gonna talk about something that just happened to me when I had a real life experience ordering something on Amazon. What happened was I ordered some basketballs on Amazon, and they came that six of them, wrong size. So I had to return them. I went into Amazon. I said "return" to make it super simple. And they gave me some options. They said you can either return to Kohl for free, or you can pay to be at UPS or whatever. I said yes. To the free. And where I live. There's a UPS in the shopping center that closes. So I originally first go to UPS and I bring all the boxes then. And the guys that UPS and I'm buddies with them. They're like, "This is for Kohl's that's free. You got to pay for it here." Like really? Kohl's? I've never been to Kohl's in my life. I don't even know what they sell there. Other than I know, they're like some department store of some sort. So I almost pay UPS just to avoid going into the store. But then they tell me what the price will be to send the six basketballs back, so I'm like... My wife will kill me if I pay for this when I can get it for free. So I said, "All right." So I just drive down to Kohl's. Mind you I have my six pound puppy with me, right? Little Ozzy my maltipoo. So I'm carrying six boxes and a little pooch with me. So I'm trying to get around this place. And I get to Kohl's. And I have no idea. Like I'm almost intimidated to walk in there. Because I have no idea. It's like a department store. But I'm going to return six boxes. And it's a lot. So I'm like dragging these six boxes, I have this small little six pound maltipoo in my hand as I'm doing it. I walk in, I see people at the register. They're buying stuff and I'm like, "Excuse me, can I return these Amazon boxes here?" and they're like, "Sorry, you gotta go in the back." So I'm like, okay, so I start to drag these boxes, I put one box into the other into the other. So I'm dragging all these boxes. And it's hard. It's like hurting my hand. And I'm going slowly through the item going all the way to the back takes me it feels like, like 10 minutes to drag it I'm switching hands each time I get to the back. I'm like, Alright, I see some someplace where you can return stuff. But that's not where you can return your Amazon stuff. You got to go make a left now. So now I got to go down another aisle. Boom, I hope I left I go all the way down that aisle, I get to the Amazon part where you can now return your goods for free. Okay, cool. We're online. And I get to the part where I'm like, Hi, I'm here to return my stuff for Amazon. No questions asked a scan everything that I have from Amazon. And now I can easily just stand there and watch them as they take it. They bag it, they put the sticker on it. And then boom. Done! Took like less than three minutes. Easiest thing ever. Alright, so everything's gone back. Awesome. Now here's the kicker. Here's where it got fun and interesting. And why I love just, I just love business . I love seeing what people are doing I love when you see smart thinkers, strategic thinkers, things that are happening outside the box. Because what happens is, you know, we all complicate business. And really business is pretty simple, right? We overcomplicate stuff, it's like, you know, we get into like, all these different marketing ways to drive traffic and, and get people to hook them in whatever. But at the end of the day, it's a pretty simple model, right? It's like, what do you sell? How do you make money? And then you got to figure out from around how you make money, how to hook people to come in and buy from you. Right? And there's a lot of different ways you can do it. But in this case, right… Kohl’s, who I'm definitely not a cold customer, they print out a receipt, and the receipt I got was this. They give me a thank you receipt, and then options on a coupon and I'm gonna read out to you. Ultimately I get this receipt from Kohl's and it's like Thanks for visiting us today. We'd like to offer you a cold savings coupon after shopping. Take 25% off right now. It's valid from the day I got there until I think it was May 27 when I did it, and then June 3, so they give me a week to buy something. And this is the kicker in store only. So I have a coupon right now for 25% in store only See below for details and exclusions. Bah bah, bah, bah, bah, then it says or if you want, you can take an extra 35% off when you open and use a Kohl's charge in store today, valid on your first Kohl's charge purchase, subject to credit approval, See below for details, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. Then it says 25% offer is valid for one transaction with any tender type. And then there's a bunch of other stuff in here. But the thing here is that on the confirmation of me sending back my stuff from Amazon, having nothing to do with Kohl's, they're trying to upsell me into becoming a customer either buying something right there and then or opening up a charge card. And they're incentivizing me by giving me a huge percentage off to buy. Well guess what guys, as I walked out, the genius of it is I bought some clothes, I bought like a golf shirt, a golf shorts, belts, and a hat. I spent a few 100 bucks, which I never would have spent there. And I got the percentage off and it was great. And the beauty is here. I want to break this down of what they did and why it's not as complicated. And when you see these huge companies doing things like this, I want you to try to take what they're doing and then apply it to your business. With Kohl's, what they've done is they partner with Amazon, they're giving Amazon a service that Amazon needs. Amazon needs places to collect the returns and then ship them out. Right and there's a ton of FedEx, UPS, whatever, right? But you can go and pay for that. But Amazon is also giving you an option where you can do it for free. Now I don't know the deal of what Kohl's and Amazon are doing together. I don't know how that's going to work or what's happening. But I can tell you how I can see the value from both sides, where Amazon's getting some service from Kohl's Kohl's has an employee already in the store being paid, who's doing this right. So whatever they pay that rep, whatever per hour to actually do the transactions. Amazon's giving you the slips and the shipping and all that just so it's not cold paying for that. You just have to print it out and bring it to Kohl's. And then what they're doing is they're adding value to the customer from Amazon. But also it looks like Kohl's is with Amazon. So immediately they get credibility to me, right? They're creating goodwill with me, right? If Amazon's department them, then they're okay in my book, but then what they're doing is they're ultimately getting in touch with Amazon customers. Now who doesn't want to get in touch with Amazon customers? I mean, to no brainer, every person in the world has an Amazon account. So if you think about the amount of foot traffic that they're getting, for people to come into the store, okay, think about that, to come into the store in a world today where it's all about the internet. And all these department stores are closing, right? Like Bloomingdale's, all these stores in New York City. They're all closing because there's not enough foot traffic for Kohl's, right? They don't have a lot of foot traffic and they don't even New York City. So what they do is they partner with Amazon, and to provide a service now they're getting people to come into their store. There's a lot of ways to look at it from from like a cost perspective, right? One would be well, Kohl's can go by ads to try to drive foot traffic into a store, right? They could buy internet ads, radio ads, whatever, right? Or they can take that cost that they were willing to spend a marketing partner with an Amazon and get Amazon to direct the traffic into Kohl's. And there's a cost that they're going to eat because it's worth it for them to get people into their store. Now you have an amazon customer that's in there waiting. And the smart thing that they do is they put in the back of the store. The reason they do that they don't know you think about it's like, right, I was dragging six boxes with my dog. I mean, it was it was annoying for me. Right? But like, if Amazon is working with Kohl's and Kohl's is going to eat that cost. Well, they're going to try to upsell the person, they're going to try to create a relationship with that person, they're going to try to do something to extend this first visit by putting it in the back of the store. It's inconvenient for me, but it's still listen, it's free. If I want convenience, I can pay for shipping and I can go to UPS or FedEx and then just ship it out. But it's free. So Alright, most people are like, you know what, it's inconvenient, but it's free. I don't know they're saving me 50 bucks, 100 bucks or 50 whatever it is, depending on how much the package weighs. But so by doing that, I'm walking through these aisles and I'm seeing all these different things on the racks, close things for Father's Day. I mean they're getting tons of impressions on Their products, right strategically in store, they're laying out the flow for me to get to Amazon, they got to be laying things out in a way where they're there and putting some of their best items as they're going, right? Boom, boom, boom, boom, right? The model for Kohl's would be all right, we're giving you this, this coupon at the end, right? This was a returns confirmation. But on the returns confirmation, they're putting in here, a coupon, right. And they have a tracking ID says, k o h 1174118437, date and time over there, store number 0380. All that stuff from the bottom. That's just for them to track what's going on in this partnership, right? Maybe the partnerships for six months, for a year. And what they want to see is, I mean, data is everything. We always talk about this right, I preach it all the time with just data. Math tells you everything. Well, in real life in the world where you're walking into, it starts very hard to track, right. So like on the internet, if you click and you go somewhere and sign up for something, you can track all the way through from the visit to the purchase. And then you can see where they're coming from, time date stamp, IP, all that good jazz, you can cookie them to retarget. But here when I'm walking in store, you can. But what they do is when they give me this, this is the ticket for tracking, they know that I was there because of Amazon. So if I make any purchases, and they use this and they scan that, it's going to go and tell me what store the sales came through and what the date and time was. There's a tracking ID, right. So like all of those things are going to say where I purchased this. And now they can look at that and be able to see how much revenue was generated off of all the visits from the people from Amazon, right? So they can look at all the costs, they can look at the revenue, and then they can see does this work? right is the model working? You know, for me, I spent a few $100. And now I'm a customer and it's a no brainer, guys like bottom line is value is given on both ends, right? It works for Amazon because you're getting free shipping. It works for Kohl's because they're getting Amazon customers into the store. And then from that point on, Kohl's is delivering a service. They're adding value. They're there for everyone. And then what they're doing is they're making an offer. To me, it's as simple as that. How smart is that any store could have done that? All of these retail stores that are struggling with getting foot traffic could have done this, and someone in Kohl's was smart enough to think about this, and go and reach out to Amazon and do a strategic deal. It's called business development. I just want to point this out because I love this. This is hustle. This is how you build businesses. This is how I built my business. Okay, people are always complaining, oh, man, I don't know how to buy ads. I don't have money. I don't know how to do this. It's too hard. You guys know, you've been doing this you have marketing. Guys, this is this is simply just somebody in Kohl's hustled and did a deal with Amazon. It was a biz dev deal. Smart. Okay, no money out of pocket. What they did though, was they took what they had available, and they are now performing a service for Amazon, because they can execute on that service. So somebody figured out a need that Amazon had, I want to go through the just simple process, or the procedure of how you would do this. There's four steps here on if you wanted to do this for your business. And then we could talk about maybe some examples of how you would do this and apply what they're doing to to businesses online. Right on my business, maybe your business, right? I'll give you a few examples off the top my head. Ultimately, the four things are this, here's the four steps. Number one is whoever you're looking to partner with whatever you're looking for whatever audience you want to tap into, the first thing you want to do is understand their business, you want to understand what are they doing what how they? How do they operate? What do they do with those customers? And then see, are there any needs or wants that they have that you can supply? Because number two is you're going to solve that problem for them. If you have a business that is operating today, your core business, but then you have the ability now to also execute for somebody else and partner with them, then you would try to marry that with them. Right in this scenario returns from Amazon. Kohl's is the ones accepting the returns and helping ship them, right. They're not paying for the shipping. But they're just the whole process. And there's tons. I mean, the packages that you see from Amazon on a daily basis from all these people. I mean, it's it's massive, massive. I mean, I mean, I'd love to see the data on everything that's shipped today. What percentage of that is Amazon? Maybe I'll go and Google that one day and just, you know, come back, but I'd have to say if I guessed, I would say 75% of everything that shipped is probably coming from Amazon. Massive, right? So once Kohl's identifies that Amazon has a need and they now can solve that problem. Now they reach out and try to do a deal explaining, Hey, guys, what's up, like, I see the guys have a lot of returns coming for Amazon, we can handle those returns, we'll do that for free for you. So Amazon doesn't have to pay, you can give an option to your customer, but they don't have to pay to win for everybody, right? It's a win for Amazon because they can offer a service to the customer for free to return, the customer doesn't have to pay for shipping. So that's free for them. And Kohl's now gets in store foot traffic, which is super, super valuable in today's day and age, right. And then forget the internet adding on COVID. Right. So those are the first two steps, figuring out what the need is for the partner you want to do some biz dev with, to tap into their audience, their community, their customer base two is you're going to have to solve that problem. Number three is you just have to execute, you have to deliver value. So in this case, Kohl's is actually delivering the value because they can do it. You can't call up and say, Hey, Amazon, I want to handle all this. And then if you don't have the ability to actually execute on it, I mean, it's going to be a disaster, right? So you got to look at what you do and how you fit their needs, right, you know that you're solving the problem, but then you have to execute on that problem. And if you can't do it yourself, or then you got to find somebody else that can, right? You still can do this deal, right? And if you can't handle the shipping, then you can potentially find somebody else that you can work with, do a deal with them, and have them be the ones that are handling the shipping. Any of us can do that, I can go do that. I can call Amazon, if I have to contact them, I'll handle all the shipping, I'll do it for free. And then I'll go and call somebody that handles shipping, maybe create a relationship with them and explain to them that I could give them something if I can find something that they need that I can add value for them, they in return could handle all the shipping, possibly, right? But so number three is you need to be able to execute. So either you need to be able to do it or you have somebody that you're partnering with that can do it for you. That's step three. And step four is once you do that, you deliver value you execute, you got to make an offer. Okay, you got to give them an offer. I didn't ask for a coupon, they gave me my receipt. Now, I'm gonna keep this receipt, right? Because I just shipped all this stuff back. And I want proof just in case things get lost in the mail, right? And then they call me up and say, "You didn't send it." like, "Well, yeah, I did. Here's my confirmation." And they have all of that information in their system, because they're tracking it. Right? The tracking on this thing is not only for them to track what they shipped, but also to track if I do anything if I were deemed this coupon, and they're going to attract that revenue back to the business model of what they're doing with Amazon. Genius, guys! So just to go over those steps, one, figure out the needs two, you have to then be able to solve a problem number three, solve the problem that they have, once you identify what the problem is you need to solve the problem. And three, you need to execute. And once you execute, and you deliver the value and you're done, then you want to give them something to do. Some action that they can take, you want to make some offer. It doesn't matter if it's for them to buy with a coupon, it could be for them to sign up for an email list. It could be for anything that your business could use to ascend them up the ladder and take advantage of all of the traffic you're getting from that partner. Right? In this case, it's in store foot traffic.

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