Will J.C. Penney’s new private brand connect with Instagram-savvy moms?

Discussion
Photo: JCPenney
Oct 15, 2018

Earlier this month, J.C. Penney debuted a new private label collection “inspired by Instagram moments” and created for moms.

The brand, Peyton and Parker, will be the department store’s first in years that spans departments, including apparel, accessories, shoes and home décor. In a statement, Val Harris, SVP of product development and design, said Penney’s product development and design team “saw a void in our assortment for a family lifestyle brand.”

The collection further stands out with its promise of “Instagram-worthy styles” that’s being supported by two factors:

  • Being available seasonally in limited-edition capsule collections.
  • Backed by an influencer campaign featuring mommy bloggers.

The holiday collection inspired by Instagram-posts features a women’s glitter ballerina shoe, a men’s puffer vest and a sequin dress and glitter crown headband for girls.

“Every family has a story to tell through photos and we created Peyton and Parker to give mom a fresh style perspective when sharing her family’s lives on social media via fashionable squares,” said Ms. Harris. “We are working with a targeted list of savvy mom influencers on Instagram who have an eye for tradition, photography and fashion to unveil this whimsical brand in a natural, organic way.”

 

Sharing pictures of food on Instagram has dramatically increased the importance of design, décor and food presentation at restaurants. Millennials are said to be eating out more because restaurants are able to deliver the socially shareable experiences the generation craves.

By comparison, not as many shareable moments are available at traditional retailers, although many are sprucing up décor and introducing in-store events to boost Instagrammable shares.

Penney appears to be tapping into Millennials increasingly seeking styling ideas across Instagram. A survey last year of Instagram users by Dana Rebecca Designs found 85 percent follow accounts on Instagram that are style, fashion or lifestyle-focused, and 72 percent made a fashion, style or beauty-related purchase after seeing it on Instagram.

Ms. Harris said, “We were inspired to create a line that made it easy for mom to dress her family and decorate her home, creating a picture-perfect moment for all of her social media channels.”

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Do you expect J.C. Penney’s new Peyton and Parker collection will be successful in inspiring Instagram discovery and social sharing? What should department stores and other channels borrow from restaurants in seeking to drive Instagram word-of-mouth?

Please practice The RetailWire Golden Rule when submitting your comments.
Braintrust
"You can imagine an entire J.C. Penney store that approaches its merchandising from this new perspective -- that would be a store that feels fresh."
"Next there’s the name, Peyton and Parker. Were Muffy and Archibald taken?"
"I see a new creative, commercial opportunity to put J.C. Penney on the right apparel path. Inspiring new visions within the J.C. Penney brand. A reason for being J.C. Penney."

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20 Comments on "Will J.C. Penney’s new private brand connect with Instagram-savvy moms?"


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Neil Saunders
BrainTrust

This is a solid move by J.C. Penney, but it will take more than this to revive the chain. As it stands, this new brand is a drop in an ocean of blandness and muddle. In essence, J.C. Penney needs a coherent ranging strategy, a very clear customer target, and much better execution in stores. Hopefully the new CEO will pull these things together.

Cathy Hotka
BrainTrust

You’re right. Adopting an Instagram theme is a great move, but it will take a lot more than this to lure a significant number of Millennials to the store. Paring back the number of SKUs would be a start…

Adrian Weidmann
BrainTrust

We live in a visual, digital and connected world. Instagram and Pinterest have become powerful platforms for “search and share” that, when combined with e-commerce (and retailer click and collect services) will rapidly become a standard shopping process. Regardless of the platform and the delivery, success is defined by the ability to convey a compelling story that resonates emotionally with your customers and shoppers. Take note of the recent addition of University of Oregon student Justin Gallegos to Nike’s stable of professional athletes. The story and its message is far more powerful and valuable than the medium through which it’s delivered.

Ricardo Belmar
BrainTrust
Ricardo Belmar
Retail Transformation Thought Leader, Advisor, & Strategist
3 years 3 days ago

This is a good start for J.C. Penney and feels like they’ve taken a page out of Target’s playbook for creating something that will appeal to new shoppers. From an integrated perspective, I see much to like about this strategy leveraging influencers, Instagram, and trying to better appeal to Millennials. That said, I thought when we last heard from J.C. Penney they were no longer targeting Millennials? Does this signify yet another change in direction? Let’s hope their new CEO takes this approach and develops a firm strategy for the brand that increases their appeal and definitively establishes who their target customers are. You can imagine an entire J.C. Penney store that approaches its merchandising from this new perspective — that would be a store that feels fresh versus today’s tired and drab J.C. Penney.

David Weinand
BrainTrust

Good call out Ricardo — but the story does mention the Instagram campaign is for “moms.” I just don’t know how many moms are on that platform.

Ricardo Belmar
BrainTrust
Ricardo Belmar
Retail Transformation Thought Leader, Advisor, & Strategist
3 years 3 days ago

True — that’s why I see this as targeting Millennial moms more than anyone else. Goes back to my comment that I still don’t know who J.C. Penney is targeting. Yes, they’re targeting moms, but they most recently told us they wanted to stop targeting Millennials. So, is it Gen X moms? And are they on Instagram?

Jeff Sward
BrainTrust

It’s a good idea to help moms with their storytelling. But I would be concerned that the emphasis will drift to too much novelty and fashion in the name wonderful publishable pictures. Well-balanced assortments should enable that kind of storytelling all the time. If this drifts into “more is more” assortment planning, then I fear the worst. This kind of merchandising has to be planned, designed, sourced and executed from day one. It’s not simple classification product development. It’s a lot harder to pull off in scale than in the introduction.

Cynthia Holcomb
BrainTrust

The product in the video is actually fresh in a J.C. Penney way. Merchandising apparel products as a mom discovery platform inspired and built by Instagram moms and designers who know how to commercialize apparel products works — if what I see in the video is a reality. After years of design directing myself, I see a new creative, commercial opportunity to put J.C. Penney on the right apparel path. Inspiring new visions within the J.C. Penney brand. A reason for being J.C. Penney.

Ryan Mathews
BrainTrust
I think there is a prior question lurking here. Instagram has grown because moms, dads and grandparents discovered Facebook. Who wants to be on the same social media as their parents and grandparents? My bet? If lots of “moms” — we’ll set aside the fact that lots of “dads” are also out there raising children for a moment — start getting their fashion inspiration from Instagram, their children will start migrating in droves to the next parent-free social media platform. There are a lot of effective influencers out there in social media land, I’m just not sure J.C. Penney and moms are at the head of the pack. The whole point of influencers is credibility, authenticity and suggestion — not direct marketing one generation removed. Next there’s the name, Peyton and Parker. Were Muffy and Archibald taken? Great if you are targeting upper class prep school kids, not so much if fashionistas are your target. As to the last question — I want to see the research that says Millennials eat out more because of… Read more »
Jasmine Glasheen
BrainTrust

Thank you for making my Monday morning with your “were Muffy and Archibald taken” comment, Ryan. I’ll be sporadically laughing out loud thinking of this throughout the day.

Ryan Mathews
BrainTrust

Jasmine — you are most welcome!

Kenneth Leung
BrainTrust

Instagram is the medium, ultimately it is the influencers they choose that will drive whether the lines they create are successful. I do wonder how many mothers buy clothes just for Instagram moments who are not aspiring Instagram influencers themselves. Having a group of influencers who don’t necessarily agree with each other and driving a product decision that could be out of date by the time it hits the market is a risk J.C. Penney has to address.

Doug Garnett
BrainTrust

I suppose I can imagine this set as a goal for the merchandisers and having some real value there — at least helping them gather around a vision. But it sounds quite silly released into the media.

No, the collection won’t succeed by inspiring Instagram discovery. Assuming it succeeds (and I hope it does), it will succeed by delivering well-made clothes with interesting fashion displayed well in the store and at a good price.

As to this sentence: “Millennials are said to be eating out more because restaurants are able to deliver the socially shareable experiences the generation craves.”

There are so, so, so many things wrong here. The research shows that only the rich Millennials are experience seekers — those with less money aren’t. In other words, another way Millennials are just like previous generations.

Dick Seesel
BrainTrust

The fate of Peyton and Parker is tied to the arrival of Jill Soltau as the new CEO of J.C. Penney. Jill’s background in merchandising and product development will force a look under the microscope at all of J.C. Penney’s private brands, not just its newest ones, to ensure that the portfolio of labels is relevant to its target consumers.

A Target-style brand intended to broaden J.C. Penney’s age appeal and “buzz factor” may turn out to be a big success — but if not, don’t expect the new CEO to be sentimental about it.

Seth Nagle
Guest

Marketing 101: advertise where your shoppers are!

Too many brands stick to a traditional marketing strategy and invest in channels no longer relevant to their shoppers. Tapping into social media and launching an Instagram campaign is a great idea but I doubt they will strike gold right away as these things take time.

If department stores really want to get into social they need to create that one-of-a-kind story that shoppers want to share with their followers. Unique signage, creative art, superior lighting and so on are a great spot to start.

Jasmine Glasheen
BrainTrust

Are there smart screens giving customers access to J.C. Penney’s Instagram in-store? Are associated armed with tablets to show potential customers featured photos of the new line? I don’t see J.C. Penney’s consumers doing the work to view Peyton and Parker on Instagram, so Penney needs to connect the dots between their social media promotional investments and the in-store experience to gain traction with its new private label brand.

Carlos Arambula
BrainTrust

This reminds me of folks planning viral campaigns when the nature of a viral campaign is that it can’t be planned.

It’s like adding after-market spoilers to an economy car and expecting it to be faster. It doesn’t matter how good the spoilers are if the car lacks the horsepower.

Joan Treistman
BrainTrust

The emphasis for J.C. Penney should be on style. It appears they’re thinking if they’re at the right place at the right time, consumers will want to engage. Since communication on social media platforms focuses on visuals, what J.C. Penney offers in terms of their clothing line will either make or break their expectations.

Craig Sundstrom
Guest

It will work if it’s stuff people want to buy. I’m not quite sure how one defines “Instagram-inspired” products — and to be honest, I doubt anyone at JCP does either — but everyone agrees they need to try new things if they’re to survive, so carry on, and good luck.

David Naumann
BrainTrust
David Naumann
Marketing Strategy Lead - Retail, Travel & Distribution, Verizon
3 years 3 days ago

Instagram is a great social media platform to drive inspiration and awareness for fashion brands. However, as Ricardo pointed out, this strategy to appeal to moms (most likely Millennials) is a contradiction to a recent announcement from Penney that they were no longer focusing on the Millennials segment. According to its recent interview with the Wall Street Journal, “In an apparent past-is-prologue moment, Penney is once again refocusing its attention on winning back the female Baby Boomer shoppers it has lost.”

Penney needs focus and a winning strategy that is attainable, given its current brand image and core customers. While expanding beyond their current market is possible, they need to have realistic expectations. Good luck Jill Soltau!

wpDiscuz
Braintrust
"You can imagine an entire J.C. Penney store that approaches its merchandising from this new perspective -- that would be a store that feels fresh."
"Next there’s the name, Peyton and Parker. Were Muffy and Archibald taken?"
"I see a new creative, commercial opportunity to put J.C. Penney on the right apparel path. Inspiring new visions within the J.C. Penney brand. A reason for being J.C. Penney."

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