One specific mobile example J.C. Penney's spokesperson pointed out is the company's wedding registry experience. Customers can use the J.C. Penney app (available via Apple's (AAPL) App Store as well as Google (GOOG) Play for Android) to scan items in store and add, edit and manage their registry using their smartphone. The company also offers iPads in store to create registries. J.C. Penney will be expanding the capability to a baby registry in the fall, the spokesperson stated.
J.C. Penney was actually a pioneer when it came to e-commerce and started offering customers the ability to purchase online back in 1995, as an expansion of its catalog business, and long before most people likely even were familiar with the Internet, according to a February article by Reuters.
J.C. Penney's online sales reached $1.52 billion 2011, but dropped precipitously the following year, the article says. By then, former CEO Ron Johnson was focusing more on transforming the chain's merchandise offering to hipper, fresh items and more expensive items, especially in the home department, instead of catering to its core customer demographic of Middle America moms, which turned out to be disastrous for sales.
Johnson was subsequently removed in April 2012, ultimately being replaced ironically by his predecessor, Myron 'Mike' Ullman. The company has been working on a turnaround for the past year and plans to be completed by the end of this year. As part of his opening comments during last night's earnings call, Ullman said the company is "focused on being a leader on the channel of retailing."
"In the end, the customer experience from marketing to browsing to checkout has to be seamless across all channels and mobile devices, and that's what we're working toward," Ullman said.
--Written by Laurie Kulikowski in New York.