Here’s How JCPenney is Winning
We all know that the invention of the internet was a pivotal moment in humanity. It has irrevocably altered the way we talk, the way we connect, the way we share information and, perhaps unexpectedly to some, the way we shop. This new frontier has opened the door for online giant Amazon to take a huge bite out of the traditional retail sphere. Shopping used to be something you did at a mall or at a store nearby. Shopping was an activity that requires forethought, planning, and gas money.
Today, shopping looks very different. It can be you, alone, in your PJs at 1:45am, bleary from sleep, ordering toilet paper in bulk from Amazon. That’s a very different picture than what it once was. Shopping can be solitary now. It can be intermittent. Simply put: the landscape of retail and of ecommerce has shifted, swiftly and permanently.
The unintended consequences of this shift are far-reaching. Retail stores that used to compete for mall space, are now struggling to keep up with ever-changing online battle of dominance. It’s a competition to get your attention, your loyalty and eventually your cold hard cash. It’s a bit like the Hunger Games, an epic battle for resources that rages all around us, almost imperceptibly.
The result of this is that a lot of stores are now struggling. Or, worse yet, closing. Retail locations for Macy’s, Sears and Kohl's have been closing nationwide. Sales have dipped, jobs have been lost, and it seems like this may just be the tip of the iceberg.
Amidst the chaos and the closures, some stores have retained their userbase or, more likely, made savvy moves to recapture users, build up brand loyalty and finesse their way back into our lives, our screens, and our wallets.
One of those winners is retail giant JCPenney. Let’s take a look at what they have done right, in the face of financial crisis, and what that may mean for other stores, other brands and for consumers.
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Well, Well, Well. Look Who’s Back in the Game!
Here’s a brief overview of how JCPenney is winnning back customers, even as their competitors are suffering.
Creating a fun, engaging social media presence and an attractive, easy to use website should be basics, but not every store is winning on this front. There are many missteps, but JCPenney seems to have made smart decisions about how they promote themselves. Check out their twitter. They have, at the time of this writing, 435k followers (Sears has 196k and Macy's is winning at social media with 938k followers). They tap into current trends, highlight their products and their fans are loving it.
JCPenney has their coupon game on lock. In fact, they are one of my favorite stores to work on because, unlike some other retailers, they do not try to “hide” their coupons or make their customers search endlessly for them. They are all there, on one clean, well designed page. They always have a daily offer, a couple of codes, a couple of in store coupons and sometimes a free shipping coupon or a flash sale to sweeten the deal.
This means that users are able to save on just about every purchase at jcpenney. That’s good for your wallet and good for their bottom line.
1 Cent Bonanza
One of my favorite ways that JCPenney is staying relevant in this competitive market is the news (that we brought you and over 102k of your viewed) that they have begun to sell select items for 1 CENT. Yup, you read that right. They are making full advantage of their name and offering the throwback deal of an item for just 1 cent. Not a dollar, not a quarter, just a single, solitary cent.
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Currently, their offers are BOGO for 1cent on select items or brands, or occisionally just 1cent items like arizona jeans. This 1 cent sale is, like much of the other choices on this list, amaazing for consumers. Who doesn’t want to buy something for one cent. It’s like the concept of a dollar store, but multipled. We all want less for more, that’s just human nature. And I can’t imagine anything feeling quite as gratifying as clicking through your cart and see $0.01 at checkout. Savings are sweet.
Cannibalizing Their Competitors
This is a pretty brilliant movie. As retail stores are closing across the country, JCPenney is trying to capitalize on the demise of their competitors, namely Macy’s and Sears. Apparently, when a Macy’s closes, the closest JCPenney store reaches out to the customers in that area via newletter and snail mail. That’s pretty cold, huh?
Investing in the Right Places
JCPenney did some deep research into who their customers are, what their customers want and need, and what areas they are lacking in. Based on these findings, they decided to invest HEAVILY in beauty and makeup and in home goods and appliances. Sounds like good news right?
In fact, they partnered with Sephora to create mini sephora stores INSIDE existing JCPenney. That way, they both win. So they have decided to find and offer the highest quality beauty products, from makeup to lotion and everything in-between.
They also invested in having everything for your home needs, from furniture and decor to kitchen appliances, bedding and everything else you need to decorate, cook and enjoy your home. That’s a pretty big deal, because it makes them competitive not only in the fashion sphere but also in the home and furniture one.
Your Favorite Brands
JCPenney is doing their due diligence and stocking all your favorite brands. Combine those brands with daily sales, coupons, and customer loyalty rewards and you have high quality items from top brands being sold for much, much less. That’s enough to keep anyone coming back. Search your favorite brand. Yeah, any brand. Nike, Disney, Sephora, Kate Spade, Michael Kors. They will, most likely, have something for you. And you can get is a heck of a lot cheaper when you stack coupons and other discounts.
This is not to say that JCPenney is necessarily at its apex, or that it is without fault. Time will tell how resilient their brand, their approach and their marketing truly is. But what is interesting about this comeback tale, is that it shows that savvy brands can make meaningful changes to their approach, to their marketing and to their customers. As time goes on, it seems to me, that brands and stores have become more tailored to individuals, more aware of who their customer is and what their customer wants.
Stores that are winning are the stores that are listening to their consumers, watching their competitors with a keen eye, and allowing themselves the flexibility to make micro and macro changes to their business. Staying stagnant in this economic and business climate is a sure sign that decline is headed your way. To thrive is to innovate, it is to hear what your customers need and provide it to them. It is, at the core, becoming more than a store, more than a brand, but rather a tool for helping your customer find what they need, on their budget, and enjoying the experience. We talk often about customer-centered design, but this is a new approach: customer-centered business. And we can all learn a thing or two about that.
In today’s market, that’s the only kind that will do.