Will greeters make Penney a more inviting place to shop?
If greeters worked for Home Depot, perhaps they can do the same at J.C. Penney. That’s what many have concluded with news that the department store chain, led by CEO Marvin Ellison, a former Home Depot executive, has been testing greeters at locations in the Northeast since the summer.
Greeters at the Penney stores are not full-shift positions. Instead, stores make use of associates from other jobs in two-hour shifts. The New York Post interviewed an unnamed Penney employee who said workers were assigned to work as greeters during “power hours” between noon and 2:00 p.m.
Stores that employ greeters at entrances typically do so with one or more objectives in mind, including creating a friendly shopping environment, answering customer questions and reducing losses due to theft. The Penney associate who spoke with the Post said staff was told the intention was to increase sales.
As might be expected, the employee said not all in the store were thrilled with the test, citing longer lines at the checkout and workers being pulled from jobs they were comfortable with (such as unloading trucks) and put in another where they were not.
Earlier this year, Walmart brought back greeters at the majority of its stores. The chain, which had removed greeters from store lobbies in 2012, made the decision after assessing a test that began last year. Walmart also created a new position, customer host, which is responsible for fulfilling the traditional role of a greeter while also policing entrances to deter theft.
- JCPenney is getting friendlier – New York Post
- JC Penney is testing out store greeters – Fortune
- Holy Smiley Face! Walmart brings back greeters – RetailWire
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Why do you think J.C. Penney’s test only includes using greeters during a two-hour window? Where do you expect Penney will go from here?