TECHNOLOGY

J.C. Penney jumps into $20 billion industry with in-store shops

BY Marianne Wilson

J.C. Penney isn't playing around when it comes to toys.

The retailer announced it is opening toy shops in its 1,000 plus brick-and-mortar stores, and has already expanded its online toy assortment. The in-store shops will be located within the children's department, next to the Disney Collection displays, and will feature a wide range of items, from dolls and action figures to board games and arts and crafts, and such brands as Hasbro, Mattel, and Fisher Price. Many of the shops feature a play area where kids can try out select toys.

The rollout grows out of Penney's decision to bring back toys to its stores — for the first time in years — for the 2016 holiday season. The move apparently resonated with shoppers. Penney said it was "extremely pleased by customer response and confidently made the decision to grow our toy assortment in stores and at JCPenney.com.

"We know that shoppers buy toys year-round and by creating a fun, inviting toy shop, with some of the biggest brands and hottest products, we will entice families to shop and spend more at J.C. Penney,” said John Tighe, executive VP and chief merchant for J.C. Penney. “Toys are an exciting product category for J.C. Penney and an in-store attraction that will drive traffic and sales as we continue to focus on increasing revenue per customer.”

Online, Penney has doubled its toy assortment and added an array of new product categories, including bicycles, video games, outdoor trampolines, costumes and science kits. The retailer has also sorted out product by age group. Penney plans to beef up the assortment even more time for the holiday shopping season.

“J.C. Penney realizes the importance of having a significantly expanded product selection at JCPenney.com to compete with pure e-commerce rivals, which is why we are so proud of both our product and category expansions over the past 12 months," Tighe said. "The toy industry continues to grow and J.C. Penney intends to capture a significant portion of this $20 billion (Toy Association estimate) industry."

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TECHNOLOGY

Specialty retailer integrates omnichannel experience

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

As Cole Haan expands its breadth, the retail experience must remain consistent — regardless of the touchpoint shoppers use.

In partnership with Aptos, the specialty retailer now has a platform that delivers a seamless customer experience throughout the entire shopping journey. Regardless of whether shoppers visit one of the company’s 259 stores across 30 countries, or shop online, now they will get a unified experience.

The cloud-based Aptos Singular Commerce platform manages point-of-sale and mobile point-of-sale, and an order management module supports Cole Haan’s direct-to-consumer initiatives. The solution will integrate the retailer’s digital and physical retail channels, and support one complete view of customers, inventory and orders, as well as manage order fulfillment, logistics and analytics.

“Aptos has been a tremendous partner in helping Cole Haan to provide seamless customer experiences throughout the entire shopping journey,” said Ron Edwards, COO, Cole Haan. “The addition of the order management platform will allow us to gain efficiencies and consistency with unified processing of all orders originating from the store or online,” he added. “Meanwhile, it will help associates provide customers with ‘endless aisle’ capabilities and streamline returns of online purchases in the store.”

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TECHNOLOGY

Analysis: Prime Day a success in the eyes of consumers

BY CSA STAFF

Amazon's third annual shopping event scored big with those who counted most, according to InfoScout and Market Track’s survey of shoppers on Prime Day.

Not only did a majority of shoppers make a purchase, but they also had positive reviews of the selection of products offered, pricing, and their willingness to continue shopping Prime Day in the future. In survey results, 52% of respondents agreed that Prime Day offered the lowest prices of the year, and 87% agreed that they would continue to shop Amazon Prime Days if they have them. Seventy-percent of survey respondents agreed that Prime Day offered a great selection of products.

"Many of the concerns consumers expressed on social media about the first two Prime Day events — specifically, the product selection — seem to be an afterthought," commented Ryne Misso, director of marketing at Market Track. "Shoppers had a more positive reaction to the deals available this year. Whether that’s a testament to better products being featured, or to Amazon’s efforts to improve the overall Prime Day shopping experience, perception seems to have shifted."

According to Misso, the survey data from Prime Day shows Amazon has solidified Prime Day as an annual event that shoppers will mark on their calendars.

"Close to nine out of 10 shoppers intend to shop Prime Day in the future, should Amazon continue to have the sale," he said.

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