Consumers love the discount racks. They’re drawn to big savings and deep discounts like ‘50% off the last ticketed price.’ But one large retailer is bucking this system. J.C. Penney is heading in a brave new direction by rethinking their entire brand strategy and style.
If you’ve been in a Penney’s lately, there’s a comprehensive elimination of discount racks and sales. After recently scouring through my local JCP, I found not one single sales item. And that’s the point – all items are offered at affordable rates throughout the store, throughout the year. You’ll never pay more for an item just because you missed the sales days.
This intriguing and risky change in pricing strategy is a new plan to offer consumers discounted items year round. It’s a bold move for JCP, but certainly an innovative step to revive a struggling brand.
With a complete shake-up at the top levels of management including new CEO Ron Johnson of Apple-retail-store and Target-merchandising fame, J.C. Penney is rethinking all the paradigms of retail sales. As a recent Forbes article describes, they are a most interesting retailer to watch in 2012.
Despite how J.C. Penney chooses to spin its pricing model, consumers will invariably translate year-round discounted items into ‘everyday low prices’. It would appear J.C. Penney is striving for a Wal-mart / Food Lion category of retailers – fewer sales, deeply discounted items, affordable brands, and emphasis on the salt-of-the-earth American shopper.
For example, American shoppers love America. The new J.C. Penney’s brand identity is a not-so-subtle reminder of the American flag -- complete with a bold and vibrant red, white, and blue color palette. For those who love baseball, apple pie, and hot dogs, this new brand identity is surely a homerun.
And don’t forget that JCP has a new spokesperson, Ellen Degeneres. Ellen has a loyal following and wide appeal with women. Plus, Ellen actually worked in ladies apparel at J.C. Penney’s in Louisiana before getting into acting. She’s witty, friendly, and most importantly, relevant to today’s culture.
In rethinking business models from the ground-up, J.C. Penney is letting imagination and innovation guide their way. No more retailer paradigms and no more “me too” strategy. JCP is taking the essential steps to remain relevant in the 21st century and avoid landing in the graveyard of deceased retail brands.