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Introducing J.C. Penney – technology innovator

Penny James
J.C. Penney’s technology innovation even includes a “Saturday Night Live” star.

This is not your mother’s J.C. Penney.

Celebrating its 120th birthday this year (more on that later), department store chain J.C. Penney Co. is not typically viewed as a “leading edge” retailer. In reality, J.C. Penney has long been willing to take advantage of new technologies, as evidenced by its 2009 interactive virtual runway show.

However, in recent months, J.C. Penney has been notably stepping up efforts to transform its enterprise with technology. In January, the retailer appointed two veteran executives from Gap and Neiman Marcus to C-level, technology- and digital-related positions. Here are three innovative projects the new executives are surely working on, and it will be interesting to see what else is on tap.

Targeted online promotions
J.C. Penney has been using Metrical predictive artificial intelligence (AI) modeling-based solutions in its e-commerce promotions. The results have included a 40% increase in new cart creation, an 18% reduction in cart abandonment and a 10% improvement in revenue on targeted visits.

The retailer found that its online conversion rate was below optimal levels and the department store chain frequently used discounts to drive sales. However, the discounts came with a high cost and the company realized this sales model would be unsustainable, so it set a goal to convert online customers without sacrificing margin.

Utilizing Metrical predictive AI solutions, Penney has improved the targeting and performance of online promotional tools such as pop-ups and paid search. Penney’s also applied Metrical technology to its efforts to convert online sales of items from low-performing product categories that were sitting unpurchased in customer carts.

Performing a cost-benefit analysis, the retailer took conversion revenue and subtracted all associated costs including cost of goods sold, marketing costs, shipping and more to arrive at a net bottom line that the retailer said was triple than what they had experienced prior to using Metrical.

Integrated marketing – with star power
A “Saturday Night Live” star is helping The J.C. Penney Co. Inc. launch its new “Shopping is Back” integrated promotion across digital and physical channels.

The department store retailer is celebrating its 120th birthday (the company was officially founded on April 14, 1902) with the new integrated campaign, which includes an in-store and online brand refresh, as well as special sales promotions and a series of nationwide live events at select J.C. Penney stores.

In addition, the campaign features a series of advertising spots featuring comedian and “Saturday Night Live” cast member Melissa Villaseñor as shopper “Penny James.” The James character is seen throughout video and graphics promoting the retailer’s products and services, with the tagline “Shopping is Back!” The first video spot is currently airing.

Expanded same-day delivery
The department store retailer, which had already been offering buy-online-pickup-in-store (BOPIS) and curbside pickup services, partnered with on-demand delivery platform DoorDash to offer same-day delivery of select online orders in December 2021, timed for the holiday season.

J.C. Penney is delivering beauty and salon merchandise in select markets, as well as home goods from more than 600 stores, via DoorDash. Shoppers can browse and order beauty and salon items such as makeup, skincare, fragrance, styling tools, and haircare; as well as home goods including pillows, home décor, towels, and sheets, for same-day delivery on orders placed up to an hour before the store closes through the DoorDash mobile app or e-commerce site. There is no time slot during store hours or minimum order size required.

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