J.C. Penney has a problem: It doesn`t connect well with the key 18- to 35-year-old demographic. "We get moms shopping in the stores for their kids and more, and then we get those kids when they become moms and dads," said Mike Ullman, chairman and CEO. To remedy the problem, J.C. Penney is turning to the web, and during the next five years will make the Internet the company`s foundation, Ullman said during a keynote address Feb. 1 at the Shop.org 2007 FirstLook conference in Orlando.
"We have to invest in this demographic area, which prefers to shop online," Ullman said. "If they can`t find something online that works for them and engages them, then they`re possibly going to be a one-off customer-and that is not our strategic goal."
The company recently hired a new I.T. chief to rebuild the multi-channel retailer`s technical infrastructure. But a large aspect of Penney`s plan is making "an emotional connection with customers in the web channel," Ullman explained.
One example of how J.C. Penney, No. 13 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, is aiming for this connection is its last back-to-school campaign, in which it created a web site for children that included games and entertaining content, as well as entirely different messaging. While Mom may make the purchase, kids definitely influence it, Ullman said. "There is so much noise out there that your messaging must stand out; otherwise, you`re just spending money," he said.
J.C. Penney’s site operations manager Craig Horsley is speaking at Internet Retailer Conference & Exhibition, June 4-7 in San Jose, in a workshop session entitled Making Rich Media A Rich Source of Sales.