There’s been a lot of buzz over the future fate of J.C. Penney recently especially since Ron Johnson (the brilliance behind Apples retail stores /Genius Bar & Target’s marketing guru) was named the new CEO.
Johnson unveiled a plan to provide a simpler, less confusing pricing structure and move away from the endless sales. Though, JCP will still continue to host some sales, which will be more predictable and convenient than in the past.
This will be a bold move in a market that is on the race to the bottom due to the cut throat nature of the business where consumers win because stores continue to have even more and more sales and now the public has grown accustom to waiting to find a deal or going online to find the lowest cost.
It’s going to be interesting to see how Johnson tries to change the game and a big question will be if JCP will be undercut in the meantime. Additionally, I’m looking forward to see what ideas he has for a market segment that’s been stagnant in the innovation department for sometime now and certainly needs someone with a different view point to shake things up!!
Here’s an interesting quote from Johnson that he wrote for the Harvard Business Review about what he learned from the Apple Stores…
“People come to the Apple Store for the experience — and they’re willing to pay a premium for that. There are lots of components to that experience, but maybe the most important — and this is something that can translate to any retailer — is that the staff isn’t focused on selling stuff, it’s focused on building relationships and trying to make people’s lives better. That may sound hokey, but it’s true. The staff is exceptionally well trained, and they’re not on commission, so it makes no difference to them if they sell you an expensive new computer or help you make your old one run better so you’re happy with it. Their job is to figure out what you need and help you get it, even if it’s a product Apple doesn’t carry. Compare that with other retailers where the emphasis is on cross-selling and upselling and, basically, encouraging customers to buy more, even if they don’t want or need it. That doesn’t enrich their lives, and it doesn’t deepen the retailer’s relationship with them. It just makes their wallets lighter.”