JC Penney: The Aftermath



When JC Penney introduced their new pricing plan, I had reservations about the long-term success. Apparently I was right on target with everyone else, so as the retail giant gears up to revise the strategy here is what fellow entrepreneurs can learn.


A confusing strategy is a bad strategy

Anything that requires multiple explanations should be avoided. While it seems like the next best thing in your head, your staff and your customers require something that is easy to understand and addresses an actual need.


Less gimmick, more strategy

A strategy by definition should be a plan to attack an identified problem. If your strategy doesn’t actually identify an issue and provide a resolution, it isn’t a strategy. It’s a gimmick and customers don’t like gimmicks and for good reason. When time is the most precious commodity customers have, they don’t want to spend any more of it than they have to.


Revise, revise, and revise

The one thing that JC Penney is doing right in this whole scenario is the ability to revise their strategy. I applaud the recognition of the leadership to take a step back and recognize that what was once thought of as a golden strategy, may need some retooling.


Strengths have to be relearned

Ron Johnson was a former star at Apple, JC Penney was a former retail star but what the chain didn’t learn was that everyone has to stay relevant, even golden boys. The worse thing here is that JCPenney has let someone with such admirable strengths struggle by not supporting the new strategy with relevant retail and customer information. If it had Johnson would have been told that 3 tiers of pricing were unnecessarily complicated. What customers need in the age of being able to Google a product, is the easiest way to find the price and how to purchase it.

So let’s put our heads together and come up with a new strategy or at least listen to what the customer wants.



Leona Charles

Leona Charles began SPC Business Consulting Ltd in 2007 to help businesses of all sizes get the most out of their performance. As a Six Sigma Black Belt, she brings a fresh and unique approach to Operations Consulting drawing on her 10 years of combined experience in law enforcement, government contracting, property management, customer service, non profit industry, and education.

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