JCPenney hasn’t had the best of luck these past few years. The company has tried to change itself, almost start anew as to prevent bankruptcy. It opted for its “fair and square” slogan, trying to reach out to everyone and letting people know they don’t have to wait for doorbuster deals and sales. After much effort, it failed. People were confused as to what the company was trying to do. “Low prices every day? What if I want a sale?”
Making people feel as if they are missing something out, especially a sale, never really works in the company’s benefit. Our society is obsessed with finding the greatest item at the lowest cost. Having everyday low prices doesn’t seem all that interesting. We thrive on the sales, finding that amazing dress at such low cost it was practically a steal. We like to brag to our girlfriends about how amazing our new product is, but the best part is how much money you saved, leaving you with extra cash for that mani-pedi, or that new hairstyle you have been wanting to try.
Not fully blaming JCPenney, but in a way, they should have known this idea was not headed towards retail heaven. The clues were in the shopping habits of Americans. We love to get the catalog with all the sales and coupons and bring them to the store and be able to buy it with that coupon. That helps us feel like we accomplished something, save money. We are living in a recession right now, and nothing makes a fashion obsessed broke girl more happy than finding a great deal on a spring “must-have.” Think about it, whenever you get a coupon for a percentage or amount off at a store where you love to shop you are more likely to come back and spend money rather than going to a store where you don’t really know about the deals. Just a few weeks ago I purchased a dress at H&M and they handed me a $5.00 off coupon for my next purchase during a specific date. Am I more likely to buy something there during that time because of that coupon? Definitely, yes.
We have this obsession of wanting to get things before everyone else, being a trendsetter or the first to have something, which is why we also love doorbusters. JCPenney just made it slightly confusing for consumers to know if something was going to go on sale, because really, it didn’t since all the prices were at their “lowest.”
Enough of explaining why their previous idea failed, JCPenney is now trying to make a comeback with sales, hair salons, coffee shops, and yes, even yoga lessons in store!
JCPenney will be joining in on what a lot of retailers like Target, Kohls and Walmart have been doing, designer collaborations. If you haven’t heard the name Duro Olowu, my suggestion is to start googling the name and preparing yourself for some amazing designs. You’re welcome. Get ready for funky prints, girly fits, and most importantly “girl on a 7/11 coffee budget and not Starbucks coffee budget” prices. The line is modern European, going on a Safari, with time to go to an after-party look. In other words, you will love it.
Let’s not forget, for those of you who are in high school, doing your search for the perfect prom dress, JCPenney also has a collaboration with Marchesa called Pearl Georgina Marchesa. You’ve heard the name before, it’s only been on a few red carpets here and there, worn by famous celebrities. No big deal. You can now dress like a celebrity for your prom without paying the celebrity price, which most of the time celebrities don’t pay for because they borrow dresses and return them after the event. If only that were possible for us.
In addition, the retailer is now also collaborating with Betsey Johnson and William Rast (yay!) and is staying with designers they have already been working with such as MNG by Mango, Levi’s, Liz Claiborne, and many others.
What’s this talk about completely transforming JCPenney? Adding coffee shops, hair salons and yoga classes, will most likely shake up the retailer’s competitors. Think about it, we like to shop, get a bit of a workout here and there, get a little pampered and then just relax with our favorite drink. It sounds pretty convenient having all of that in one place. My only concern is, for example the hair salon, having people who are qualified and have experience to do any sort of hair treatment. Sure you can learn customer service and how to make double tall latte with a shot of espresso with skim milk, and anything else you want to add to it, but doing someone’s hair is different. It takes years of experience and I hope JCPenney invests in that if they don’t want to crash and burn, or worse, file for bankruptcy and not be able to come back up.
Overall, I think what this company is doing is fantastic because they realized that when something doesn’t work you come up with new ideas to bring you back up, instead of giving up and letting the other retail giants take over. I hope this works out, I’m interested in going shopping, working out with the new yoga gear purchased, getting my hair done, and sitting back looking up fashion news and outfits while enjoying my coffee drink (less complicated than the one previously mentioned), all in one place.