Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Ron Johnson Takes Over As CEO At JC Penney: Expecting Great Customer Experience

Former chief of Apple's retailing activities Ron Johnson will soon become the new CEO of JC Penney. Ron Johnson's reputation has been built on the amazing job he has accomplished at Apple as he invented a new generation of stores which stood out by its innovations, including especially the genius bar, where customers could found technical help.

JC Penney has been multiplying innovations, and is already looking for new ways to improve its stores attractivity and foot traffic.

Now I believe that Ron Johnson's task will be tough. Of course, its experience at Apple's show well its ability to think through customer experience, and to be able to innovate. But I wonder (I have no information on that point) how profitable those stores are, and how do they contribute in overall to Apple's revenues. To me, Apple's store main goal is more to present its products as a show room, even more than to actually become one of the main retail channel of the brand.

Here is one of the section of the very interesting ar
ticle I read:
"That strategy has translated into packed stores. Apple said it attracted 71.1 million visitors to its stores in its latest quarter, more than the 60 million who flocked to Walt Disney Co.'s four biggest theme parks for the entire year, according to Themed Entertainment Association."

In this paragraph, you can see that they are comparing the number of people visiting a resort park with the number of people visiting a store. The term "visitor" shows well that the goal of those Apple stores may not be in the end to sell at the first place.

Indeed, JC Penney is a pure retailer, which needs to optimize its square meters. Now, this prerogative is not in contradiction with the search for better customer relationship and better customer experience. But Johnson will be working mainly with low tech and low innocation products (clohtings), while at Apple it was only top of the line highly innovative products.

Somehow, it is a good thing for JC Penney, which will be able to benefits its creative and new mindset, in order to reinvent their concepts.

What do you think about it?