Posts Tagged ‘fair & square’

“Fair & Square” … except on Fridays … JCP throwing in the towels?

June 1, 2012

According to AdAge

JC Penney is ramping up its promotional messaging in the wake of a dismal first quarter.

The retailer has added "Best Price Fridays" to its calendar

Certain products are marked down on those days, and the lower prices are in effect until the product sells out.

"The additional Best Price Fridays equates to adding promotions and is a step away from the company’s pricing strategy, suggesting that the company is willing to forgo its original thinking."

Store associates also have been instructed to place stickers with new prices for best price and month-long value items next to, rather than on top of, original prices.

The new approach will better highlight savings for customers so that they can … "Do the Math" .

"The change in strategy is an admission that the company’s existing  pricing strategy has flaws — less than 120 days since Ron Johnson’s new model took course on Feb. 1."

In discussing first-quarter results, executives admitted there has been confusion surrounding its pricing strategy and lack of coupons.

Shocker: Shoppers like deals and find it incredible (i.e. not credible) when a promotions-intensive retailer claims to have “seen the light”.

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No coupons, no customers … the perils of being fair & square.

May 30, 2012

Punch line: JC Penney’s is trying to re-cast itself as the “fair & square” retailer.  So far, the dogs aren’t eating the dog food.  Why? It’s simple behavioral economics. People are predictably irrational.

Personal note: When I was at Black & Decker, we tried to lead the industry out of constant rebating.  You know, $5 back if you mail a receipt, UPC code, etc. to some PO Box in Texas.

When we stopped offering rebates, competitors doubled their’s and ate our lunch.

Penney’s should have asked me …

* * * * *
Excerpted from MSNBC.com

JC Penney’s “Fair & Square” campaign, which launched on Feb. 1, appears to be a disaster.

Revenue dropped 20 percent; customer traffic fell 10 percent; the company lost $163 million in the 1st quarter.

Could we have a moment of silence please for what might be the last heartbeat of honest price tags?

Not only did Penney’s plain pricing structure fail to attract fair-minded shoppers – it “repelled” them.

Apparently, if a firm tries to educate consumers on tricks and traps, and tries to offer an honest product, a funny thing happens: Consumers say, “Thank you for the tips,” and go back to the tricky companies, where they exploit the new knowledge to get cheaper prices, leaving the “honest” firm in the dust.

“Once you educate consumers on the right way to shop, they will seek out the lowest cost store.”

To oversimplify, here’s Penney’s problem.

JCP told the world that retailers only offer their best prices during crazy sales, and Penney stores would no longer host them.

Sensible consumers apparently took that information to heart and decided to simply wait for such sales at other stores.

As an added benefit, Penney lowered consumers’ search costs, because they now knew they didn’t need to bother driving to a Penney’s store anymore.

Penney’s is also leaving a lot of money on the table by rejecting a phenomenon known as “price discrimination.”

Some people have more money than time, and some have more time than money.

Some shoppers don’t mind spending hours to save $20; others would gladly give a store $20 to escape quickly. Smart retailers get money from both.

By killing couponing, Penney has eliminated its ability to satisfy price discriminators.

But the real problem is Penney’s ill-fated attempt to cast itself as the only fair poker player in a game of cheats.

Shoppers just aren’t buying it.

However unsophisticated consumers are, very few of them believe a pair of shoes bought at Penney’s everyday low price will be cheaper than a pair of shoes bought at Macy’s on clearance with a 25 percent off coupon.

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