OPERATIONS

J.C. Penney asks customers to come back in its new ad

BY Marianne Wilson

New York — J.C. Penney Co. on Wednesday unveiled an advertisement on Facebook that asks customers to return to its stores. The ad will air Wednesday and Thursday on national television, as well as on Penney’s social media platforms.

The retailer posted a 30-second ad on Facebook called “We Are Listening.” The spot blends nostalgic images of Penney stores from the 1960s and family scenes. A female narrator acknowledges that the retailer recently made some changes, some of which “you liked and some you didn’t.” The voice-over continues with, "What matters with mistakes is what we learn. We learned a very simple thing – to listen to you."

The ad ends with: "Come back to J.C. Penney – we heard you. Now we’d love to see you."

The video also appeared on Penney’s YouTube channel.

Meanwhile, the retailer took to Twitter to ask shoppers to comment about the recent changes, what they liked and what they didn’t. The company created the hashtag #jcplistens.

View the ad here:

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Union derides Target as ‘Walmart junior’ following NLRB ruling

BY CSA STAFF

The United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 1500 representing the greater New York area claimed victory over Target this week and offered some harsh words following a ruling by the National Labor Relations Board.

What got the UFCW excited was a ruling by the NLRB that affirmed an administrative law judge’s decision of May 2012, which ordered a new union election be held at Target’s store in Valley Stream, New York. Target was also ordered to halt activities that voided the first union election directedTarget to modify all existing and future employee handbooks throughout the country and remove all wording that the NLRB found violated federal labor law.

"This is an overwhelming victory for Target workers not just in the Valley Stream Target but throughout the United States," said Bruce W. Both, president of UFCW local 1500. "It is especially satisfying that the decision be announced as workers around the world today are celebrating May Day and sending the message that working men and women will fight every day, for as long as it takes until irresponsible corporations like Target respect our nation’s laws, the laws of other nations and the rights of their workers to form and join a Union."

According to a UFCW press release, the NLRB ruling upheld a May 18th, 2012 administrative law judge’s decision that Target maintained illegal no-solicitation policies, threatened employees with closure of the Valley Stream store should they vote for the union, created an impression of illegal surveillance, conducted coercive employee interrogations and threatened employees with discipline for supporting the union.

"It was shocking to all of us involved that this once proud company would get in the gutter with the Walmart’s of the world and prove to be no better when it comes to responsible treatment of their employees and their respect for federal law," said Aly Waddy, director of special projects for UFCW Local 1500.

Waddy went on to add that Target’s business model is based on suppression of workers’ rights and public deception about employee treatment and that the union would continue to shine its brightest light on a company it characterized as having increasingly dark business practices. Typically, such harsh statements from the UFCW are reserved for Walmart, whereas Target is a more recent target.

 

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OfficeMax streamlines B2B e-commerce site

BY CSA STAFF

NAPERVILLE, Ill. — OfficeMax has launched a new search engine with content and navigation improvements on its OfficeMax WorkplaceSM business-to-business e-commerce site, OfficeMaxWorkplace.com. Since phasing in improvements last month, all aimed to deliver a streamlined online shopping experience, the site has experienced increases in conversion rate, average revenue per visit and positive customer feedback.

OfficeMax Workplace enlisted input from its business customers to help identify and validate upgrades that were most important to help organizations gain greater efficiency and control of their online procurement processes.

"Listening to our customers to help shape these search and navigation upgrades further supports our commitment to being a strategic partner and delivering solutions that help address the needs of their businesses," said John Kenning, EVP and president of OfficeMax Workplace. "Our customers are telling us how much they enjoy shopping on our improved site, and how quick and convenient the shopping experience is."

New site features include re-organized shopping categories to more closely align with how customers shop on the site, as well as type-ahead text which more accurately anticipates customer queries and showcases recommendations on products, brands and other search terms. OfficeMax Workplace also added thousands of product pages and updated thousands of product characteristics to make products more visible and help customers more quickly refine, sort and view their product searches based on parameters such as brand, color and relevant product attributes.

"Search and navigation are key for our customers to be able to purchase what they need quickly and conveniently to get back to the task of running their businesses," said Jim Barr, OfficeMax EVP and chief digital officer. "These improvements are also crucial for our success as an Internet product and solutions provider, and represent our long-term commitment to providing e-commerce solutions for our business-to-business customers."

The search engine and navigation upgrades are among many ongoing improvements that OfficeMax Workplace is making to its business-to-business e-commerce platforms. Late last year, OfficeMax Workplace launched a new site design to make the procurement process easier and more intuitive. Thousands of new products were also added in the first quarter.

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