Penney Goes Online to Get Younger Shoppers
By George Anderson
It’s not your mother’s J.C. Penney anymore. That’s what the department store chain wants the 50 percent of American households that have not shopped at its stores over the past three years to know and it is going online to make its point.
The company includes its new trendier private label clothing brands and other items sold in its stores on its site, as well as more upscale items that are online exclusives.
Tim Lyons, a spokesperson for the retailer, told The Associated Press that the company’s online shoppers tend to be a little younger (the median age being 45 versus 49 in-store) and more affluent (income levels 10 to 15 percent higher).
It is a younger and more affluent consumer that Penney chairman and chief executive Myron “Mike” Ullman seeks for the retailer and the company is focused on reaching them through any means possible.
The company, according to the AP report, views its online site as the “hub” of its business. JCPenney.com rang up $18.8 billion in sales last year, putting it ahead of other department stores and even Wal-Mart for revenues generated online.
“Penney’s is moving fast into this new frontier of multichannel consumer retail experience,” said Richard Hastings, retail analyst at Bernard Sands. “People are experiencing the brand in a dynamic way.”
Penney is looking to further blend its virtual and in-store selling environments with in-store kiosks that allow consumers to order products online as well as POS touchscreen technology that enables store personnel to order items online for shoppers that are not in-stock in a particular location.
Still, the retailer has some work to do in-house. According to the AP report, “At Penney, a big challenge ahead is to get store associates to actively pitch to shoppers all three ways to shop. At a Penney store in Queens, N.Y., placards throughout the store encouraged customers to check out offerings online and in the catalog. But when a reporter approached a salesman in the furniture area about children’s furniture, he just replied: ‘We don’t sell them.'”
Moderator’s Comment: Is J.C. Penney ahead of the curve on multichannel retailing? What lessons can be learned from Penney on the challenges and opportunities
associated with developing a cohesive multichannel approach to retailing and customer service? –
George Anderson – Moderator
- J.C.Penney pushes Internet shopping The average
online customer is younger than the store shopper. – The Associated Press/The Morning Call