February 28, 2001, 12:00 AM

J.C. Penney re-launches its web site

J.C. Penney Co. Inc. revamps its web site to make it easier for customers to shop and for merchandisers to change content.

J.C. Penney Co. Inc.’s re-launch of its web site last week features a catalog search; allows shoppers to search by brand, price or size; features 30 brand-name boutiques; and gives greater prominence to the home furnishings section, Paul Pappajohn, president of e-commerce for J.C. Penney, told the eTail 2001 conference this week. "Home furnishings gets 40% of online sales, but 60% of profit," Pappajohn said. Customers can now shop by brand or style at the home furnishings section.

Pappajohn said the redesign was to accomplish four content and design initiatives. It made content management easier by allowing information prepared for J.C. Penney’s catalog to be loaded onto the web site, it provided for dynamic publishing so merchandisers can post promotions and presentations to the site without enlisting the aid of the IT department, it improved J.C. Penney’s knowledge of customers so the company can cross-sell them, and it made the site customer-centric rather than product-centric so shoppers can take different search paths depending on how they are shopping.

JCPenney.com’s rate of converting browsers to buyers is 13.7%. Sales last year at JCPenney.com totaled $294 million, 9% of J.C. Penney’s merchandise sales, up from $102 million the year before. The company is enlisting the aid of store personnel in promoting the web site by giving stores credit for Internet sales to customers in the stores’ geographic areas.

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