I personally LIKE J.C. Penney and I am rooting for them. I think Jill Soltau and her team are solid good retailers and merchants. I wish them the best. I however am very fearful that the store I REALLY do like will NOT be with us for long -- for so MANY reasons, as brilliantly already detailed above! I also worry about a LARGE debt which is unsustainable and I am afraid will suffocate J.C. Penney.
I was thinking about this the other day. I pictured floating angels in heaven and one yelling out "Hey James, You're namesake store closed down," and Mr. Penney's otherworldly persona replying -- "Well, 100 years isn't a bad run. Nothing lasts forever."
Mr. Sward, You are SO right. Those three LA stores had TOTALLY different personalities, cultures, and vibes and did different things for different people on different days. Most other cities had the same situation -- they are too numerous to list. As Mr. Phibbs said, we ended up with one big, very beige store. The situation of retail over the last decade did a lot of hurt and damage to this store as well as the industry overall also. I wish them the best!
When I talk to Millennials (if they will patronize me and speak with me) and if I bring up this store as well as others like it, I get a blank stare and a question, "Why would I go there?" usually followed by: "I would not go there, that is a place for my mom or grandma."
It is really easy! First, execute and maximize e-commerce as most Millennials are there and NOT in-store.
Second, treat your customer with sincerity and respect. If they are in a store (Saks or Neiman's for example) they KNOW where they are. Treat them with respect and honesty and be interested in their need and TRY to fill that need. Answer their requirement as best you can. Perhaps you will still be out of reach on that visit but if you treat them with sincerity and respect they will remember and return when they can.
This may be MUCH more difficult for Walmart where people are employed at minimum wage and trying to survive, but if you are high end you should have expert, friendly and, if possible, motivated staff.
Yes, I know this is Retailing 101 but I wonder these days how many retailers know this. This is BASIC but this is needed. BE A MERCHANT. Whoever can do this -- be it Target or Hermes -- will win.
Fast and free shipping, as already said, is NOT sustainable. Having said that, there is really no free shipping. If you are a savvy retailer, you have built the shipping cost into the price.
I do not believe that the consumer thinks that they are getting a free shipment. The problem is that most seem to feel that if they are paying and there are shipping costs, then the retailer is making out charging them twice, i.e., it seems that most assume that shipping is already priced in. Perhaps that is because of Amazon?
Either way, shipping IS going to become a problem as we go forward. Amazon may be best situated to deal with it as they seem to be heading to a point where they control their own shipping. Also Walmart and Target need to accentuate the benefit of BOPIS as they have so many outlets and points of availability, and this drives customers to their store, and perhaps -- just maybe -- another sale of something?
Well, I am glad they are doing something and some of these things may prove to be helpful. As Mr. Clarke pointed out, there is a big problem because the department store -- and the mall-- are dying. I, however, like Penney and I shop there. I would like to see them survive. There is a second huge problem: a giant, burying debt load! I am most concerned about their debt.
I do wish them the best!
I think this is a great partnership with potential for both partners. I for one like Kroger and shop there when I am in their market territory. I like Walgreens as well, and shop them too!
I am in an area which no longer has Kroger grocery, so If I could go to Walgreens and find the great Kroger private labels -- win-win!
I really applaud their efforts and I Wish them the best. I personally like J.C. Penney!
I am most afraid that the debt burden that they suffer under will most determine the future that they will be subject to.
I hate to say this, but the department store has been eclipsed. This sadly means that it is unnecessary. It is non sequitur. It has no reason.
I personally like J.C. Penney and shop there. I believe that they will be done in by their debt.
Nordstrom really does a good job with salespeople who do seem to give a darn and be much better trained than the other stores. I do not consider Nordstrom a typical department store; it borders on specialty store, in my opinion. (Mr. Phibbs is RIGHT!)
Kohl's is a different animal all together, and Macy's is different too. Yet Macy's and Penney are most alike, even though I am certain that Macy's would incorrectly want to be compared with Nordstrom. That would be comparing a store brand with Hagen Daas, for example.
The problem is that none of these stores matter. If all of them disappeared tomorrow, it would NOT matter. It would be a horrible thing for all the people who work at those stores, but for the customer -- nil.
I believe that in ten years the only one to be around will be Nordstrom, if they remain committed to service, and perhaps Kohl's. I say that only because they seem to have been the "darling" for so long. It will take time for their customer to age and go away.
However, I hate to say this but again, if they all disappeared tomorrow -- aside from the terrible loss of jobs -- what would it matter? That is the problem: they do not matter. Making something relevant in that situation is difficult. And Amazon becomes easier and more accommodating every day!