walkitout (walkitout) wrote,
walkitout
walkitout

There is a minimum amount of required retail space

From Jezebel:

http://jezebel.com/5879071

Which got it from the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel:

http://www.jsonline.com/news/crime/police-warn-of-online-purchase-threats-e83tlg0-137917273.html

The first paragraph is:

"After a recent rash of robberies involving people trying to sell items on the web site Craigslist, Milwaukee police on Monday encouraged people to conclude their transactions at perhaps one of the safest places in town - the local police station."

In the sidebar:

"Milwaukee police recommend conducting a transaction involving iPads, computer ware or vehicles in the lobby or in front of one of the police stations."

This is not unique to Milwaukee. The comments thread on Jezebel includes people who were using supermarket parking lots, but switched to better lit/more security c-store parking lots. Other people recommended using malls, especially food courts.

There should be a segue here. But there is not.

Ron Johnson is perhaps best known for creating The Apple Store. The Apple Store is brilliant, because it tackles head on the worst aspect of gadgetry and computers: what to do when they stop working -- or not working well -- but are not clearly broken beyond hope of repair. It is particularly brilliant, because there was no one else with a comprehensive solution to this problem although we were clearly headed that way with services like the Geek Squad. He is the CEO of JC Penney's, and rolled out a big announcement today which has received a lot of coverage.

Here is an arbitrarily selected sample:

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-01-25/j-c-penney-to-change-prices-amid-revamp.html

The plan has many features, including rolling back the number of sales. This is important, because when sales are pervasive, there's no motivation to shop at any particular time and it can get really easy to just never shop again. Known Sales (I'm thinking of the old Month End sales and White Sales, often on a particular day of the week, once or twice a month) that aren't lost in the middle of constant sales can get people in the habit of going shopping at that interval whether they need to or not, because they might find a deal. Johnson is doing something along those lines ("“best prices” promotions on the first and third Friday every month").

There has been this idea that retail which involved trying things on in person would survive the shift to shop-online/two day delivery model. I've been skeptical, but it seemed to me that there are probably people who cannot afford either dealing with the deliveries (Amazon Locker notwithstanding) and/or are not shopping at a Prime or Free Shipping price point. J C Penney's would appear to be perfectly situated to benefit from (a) national presence (b) branding (c) conservative customer base (slow to switch to a new shopping model) and (d) value proposition. Also, lots of soft goods that benefit from touch/accurate color perception and/or trying it on. This is of course ironic, given where JCP originated, but let's not go there.

"The retailer will divide entire locations into as many as 100 small shops inside stores" is a return to Old Skool (as in, gone before I was born) department stores. I'm not sure what I think about this, however, it is a pervasive retail trend (Target is going to have mini-Apple stores, Magnolia Home Theater is a Magnolia mini-store inside Best Buy, etc. see and I did that without mentioning Starbucks anywhere).

Getting Ellen Degeneres to do TV spots and roping Martha Stewart into the whole deal indicates Johnson and Morris (formerly of Target, which is where Johnson was before Apple) have identified their demographic as anyone with the taste generally associated with not-particularly-trendy-but-definitely-tasteful women of a certain age.

(If you're wondering what I mean by "of a certain age", I'm not sure, but perhaps you'll find this entertaining:

http://www.nytimes.com/1995/07/02/magazine/in-language-a-woman-of-a-certain-age.html)

Here's the thing. The very first person I ever heard of pushing to fix the whole charger fiasco was Martha Stewart. I read articles (no, I don't know where at this point) about her bringing a tote bag with her full of chargers for various electronic devices and saying, basically, hey, this needs to be fixed, NOW. I don't much care for her aesthetic, but _that_ was brilliant. If she thinks Johnson is onto something, I'm going to track down the nearest JCP and visit it in, oh, maybe three months, to see how this is coming along.

If JCP could manage to put out merch that was consistently a step nicer than Target (or, ideally, two, and maybe force Macy's to up its game) and priced to match, I would absolutely shop there.
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