Penney to Appeal to Shoppers’ Impulsive Natures

Discussion
Oct 19, 2011

J.C. Penney is hoping that shoppers get all "WRAPT" up in its new store-within-a-store concept.

The company announced earlier this month that it was rolling out its WRAPT holiday gift shops at all of its 1,100 stores across the country in the next week. The concept will feature 300 items, many exclusive to Penney, including everything from artisan chocolates to consumer electronics, all for $40 or less.

"Our customer is pressed for time. We wanted to pull it together for her to make it easier," Jan Hodges, Penney’s senior vice president and general merchandise manager of women’s accessories, told The Associated Press. "This won’t overextend her budget. These are impulsive gifts. We are creating a wow factor."

A report on the John Simon Daily website praised Penney for working with "six extraordinary co-branding partners including the MoMA Design Store, Dylan’s Candy Bar, X-Treme Geek, Glamour Magazine, Maxim Magazine and the Smile Shop" to develop the WRAPT concept.

Discussion Questions: Will WRAPT be a winner for J.C. Penney? Does a store-within-a-store concept similar to this have a life beyond the holiday selling season?

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10 Comments on "Penney to Appeal to Shoppers’ Impulsive Natures"


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Dick Seesel
Guest
9 years 6 months ago

The “gifts to go” idea has been around for many years in department stores, but the JCPenney shop is distinct in a few ways:

1. It pulls together a well-edited assortment of gifts in one location instead of just positioning tables of items throughout the store.
2. It avoids the trap of “pre-wrapped” gifts that can’t be seen by the shopper.
3. There is an element of uniqueness and “buzz” to many of the items, instead of more of the “same old” boxed watches and cologne gift sets.

If JCP pulls this area together in an impactful way, prices it appropriately and owns enough inventory for last-minute shoppers, this could be a winning strategy.

Kevin Graff
Guest
9 years 6 months ago

Finally, a good reason to go to the department store! They have been “out retailed” by most specialty retailers for a long time. This gives them their own ‘specialty’ that if positioned right and marketed well should be a winning idea. For the time-starved customer who still wants to give something better and more exciting than a tie or bottle of cologne, this should resonate well.

Al McClain
Guest
Al McClain
9 years 6 months ago

Nice, although hardly a new idea. Seasonal gift shops have been around in department stores for as long as I can remember. One side issue I have, in general — and in this instance, in particular — is constantly referring to the shopper as “her” or “she.” Even if females make up 3/4 of your customer base, you don’t want to ignore the other 1/4. And, men typically need convenient, inexpensive gift ideas more than women anyway.

Doron Levy
Guest
Doron Levy
9 years 6 months ago

The store-within-a-store concept works well for mass merchants and department store types like JCP. You have the traffic, might as well make some money from it. As for post season, these stores just take up space after the holiday season and can be better used with the next season or other high velocity items. The price point of $40 and less looks great and JCP (if managed correctly) should see success with this program. Even the name is kinda cool.

Ed Rosenbaum
Guest
9 years 6 months ago

I am rooting for Penney’s to find their niche again. They have been the retailer on the outside looking in as their “big brothers” have moved forward. I have not found a reason to shop them for quite some time. Maybe this new concept, which is not all that new, will be the jump start needed.

Dr. Emmanuel Probst
Guest
Dr. Emmanuel Probst
9 years 6 months ago

Great idea to drive traffic by giving consumers ‘a good reason to go to the department store’ as Kevin said. I feel US retailers have a lot to learn from UK department stores such as Selfridges, where stores within stores are common.

Gene Detroyer
Guest
9 years 6 months ago

The store within-a-store is the only chance department stores have in the future. The department store model is completely out of touch with the shopping trends of younger generations. From a business point of view, it is cumbersome and costly. JCP is doing a good job breaking the mold. S-W-S is the future of successful department stores. From an offering and operational point of view, it beats the Macy’s of world hands down.

Warren Thayer
Guest
9 years 6 months ago

All good. Targeted to women. Now, how about one for clueless men who need last-minute gifts for their wives for those forgotten birthdays, anniversaries, and general, all-purpose ‘I’m sorry I watched football all day again.’ That would sure get my attention.

Ed Dennis
Guest
Ed Dennis
9 years 6 months ago

Again I ask: What’s new here? Department stores have had stores within stores for years. Many make more money renting the stores within their stores than they make selling merchandise. Will WRAPT be a winner for Penney? I really don’t think it will matter much. For anything to work you have to have traffic and I don’t think that Penney’s is the retailer of choice for most of the items that will be offered in WRAPT. They might be better off if they offered free gift wrapping on any purchase. When is their new boss going to open an Apple Store kiosk in every Penney’s? Which would create more excitement, a genius bar in every Penney’s or this WRAPT store? Which would do more to change Penney’s image? And, by the way, what is Maxim selling?

David Slavick
Guest
David Slavick
9 years 6 months ago

S-W-S is new news that JCP can leverage in their newspaper inserts to encourage a new/curious customer to visit the store. Price point isn’t so compelling that the items featured will be perceived as “amazing” value. Key is rotation of goods from these suppliers to keep it fresh and how they approach pricing when at end of season they clear the goods out. Perhaps JCP Rewards members get early access to these featured items or incremental points when purchasing with their registered card? JCP as a last minute place to shop for gifts? I’m skeptical. In so far as the male shopper, perhaps the merchandise mix will present itself as an easy way to go, but JCP’s WRAPT is less likely to be on their own self-selected list vs. mall jewelry chains, fragrance department or apparel.

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