Week in Review: JCPenney is Bringing Back Appliances

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[Click to enlarge]
After more than 30 years, JCPenney decided to re-enter the appliance business when customer data showed that the vast majority of its shoppers own a home and are frequently searching for major appliance options on jcp.com.

But JCPenney did not rely on analytics alone. It also conducted extensive third-party consumer research which revealed that the majority of those surveyed thought it made sense for JCPenney to sell major appliances. Respondents saw it as a natural extension of the company’s home business, and indicated that the availability of appliances would entice them to visit JCPenney more often.

This is excellent timing for JCPenney. With the U.S. economy continuing to strengthen and home values improving, Fitch projects home improvement spending will increase 4.5% in 2016. Jim Cramer may have said it best back in November: “…people aren’t spending on apparel, they’re buying things to spruce up their homes instead.”

Marvin Ellison, chief executive officer for JCPenney, also said sales results in its home business are much improved, but it still remains one of the least productive areas in the store. The introduction of major appliances will help JCPenney continue to significantly improve sales and gross profit per square foot in its home department.

Kudos to Ellison and his team, using analytics and surveys to find out what its customers want to shop for. It’s a complete 180 from the Ron Johnson era approach, which was pretty much “who needs data, everyone should shop like they do at an Apple Store.”

Here’s a look at this weeks’ news, commentary and events that shaped the direct-to-customer world… and more.

– Intro by Multichannel Merchant Managing Editor Tim Parry.

Marketing

share-this-icon-75X75Nestle and Alibaba announced a partnership that will include luxury confectioneries, alongside coffee machines and accessories in China …Marketers anticipate the top email marketing challenges of 2016… Why Cross-device programmatic advertising will take off in 2016…. UPS announced a partnership with ShopSocially as its social technology provider. … Walmart next month will reportedly combine its store operations in Bentonville, AK with its ecommerce-based Walmart Labs in San Bruno, CA, calling the new combined entity Walmart TechnologyEdgecase highlights the top five shopper preferences from holiday 2015.

Ecommerce

Add-To-Cart-Icon-75X75Mobile commerce grew 59% during the holiday season, says comScore… In fact, Magento’s Peter Sheldon says mobile commerce will take off in 2016, and deliver a death knell for brick and mortar stores … Samsung showed off new technologies at NRF’s Big Show 2016 to connect the online and store experience … Also at the Big Show, Zebra Technologies showed off a dynamic pricing solution to sync online and in-store prices … IBM also released a dynamic pricing solution at NRF to help retailers navigate online price wars… Wayfair has launched its .ca site for customers north of the border… According to a study released at the NRF Big Show 2016 by SOTI, 73% of survey respondents say the availability of in-store mobile technology signaled better customer service and loyalty, an increase of 26% from the previous year…Cloud commerce solution Mozu launched the Mozu Marketplace, a robust ecommerce platform that features apps, accelerators, widgets and extensions from more than 80 of retail’s most innovative commerce technologies, such as Amplience, Avalara, Google, PayPal, Pitney Bowes and Salesforce… 2015 holiday fraud attempt rates spiked on Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve, per ACI Worldwide’s benchmark data… Luck Brand Jeans has partnered with NetSuite to fuel its retail and wholesale businesseseBay Enterprise and Demandware announced an alliance to deliver omnichannel commerce…Motorsports.com acquired online retail company Onpole.com and launched a new ecommerce platform.

Operations

shipping-delivery-75X75How big was omnichannel order volume this holiday season? Check out these amazing figures from eBay Enterprise’s Digital Commerce Index… USPS’s first parcel shipping price increase is not expected to materially impact its volume or share of business… Struggling with cross-border shipping? PayPal’s Melissa O’Malley shares four ways you can simplify it… FedEx Ground will build a 300,000-sq.-ft. warehouse at Sparrow’s Point in Baltimore. Auto ZoneDHL and Saddle Creek Logistics also announced DC additions. … Starmount announced the release of Starmount Store Inventory, a new application designed to help retailers maintain accurate store inventory by making it a seamless extension of the retail workflow … Amazon marches on: It has registered its Chinese subsidiary with the Federal Maritime Commission as an ocean freight forwarder, marking its entry into the $350 billion ocean freight industry.

… And more

newsChico’s FAS has completed the previously announced sale of the Boston Proper direct-to-consumer business. Terms of the sale agreement with Brentwood Associates were not disclosed…Elo announced the ability of its self-service platform to integrate with the Verifone e355 to bring support for loyalty programs and emerging payment methods, including Europay, Mastercard, and Visa (EMV), near-field communication (NFC), and mobile wallets, to retail self-service and endless aisle environments… The Army & Air Force Exchange Service (AAFES) has selected Stibo Systems’ STEP MDM solution to drive its digital transformation initiativeHome Depot has named Anne-Marie Campbell as new head of U.S. stores… SLI Systems named Gary Schaumberg as Vice President of Customer Success … Joe McFarland, president of Home Depot’s northern and western divisions, has been named executive vice president of stores at JCPenney.

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