JC Penney’s Simple Offline to Online Engagement

The topic on my mind most recently is “merging the offline with the online” and I’ve been hyper-aware of noting examples when I see it.  I think this is a practice that brands must work capitalize on when forming their cross-channel strategy.  We operate in an ecoystem so connecting with consumers wherever they are (and driving them deeper into the brand) is key, particularly in today’s world.  This is difficult to do, for sure – different departments are in charge of their own particular “house,” they each have different objectives, and in the case where they do work together to drive deeper experiences, there has to be a plan in place to keep people engaged.  Remember, this is a relationship that brands are trying to build, and it requires an ongoing dialogue.

So, JCPenny gets some props today.  We pulled out a JCP flyer from the mailbox this weekend and prominent on both sides of the flyer was a call-to-action for mobile engagement.

This is a simple way for JCP to use their existing collateral (they’re going to print and distribute these flyers anyway) to a) engage consumers in a different way b) keep an ongoing stream of communication, albeit only push messages and c) incentivize them to purchase.  Now, putting this on a paper flyer is one thing.  Communicating with the consumer is entirely different.  Frequency of communication, the offers, and the actual words is where the real thinking and work comes in.  Even with SMS coupon initiatives, brands still have an opportunity to speak their voice.  That voice is instrumental in defining the brand and the relationship.  They can’t push messages out too frequently, but they can’t disappear either.  I think with an engagement like this, consumers are more tolerant to updates, but they will turn them off if they’re coming too frequently or not enough.  As a brand, you really have to know your consumers’ behavior and attitudes to both mobile and shopping before you can really decide on the frequency.

So here, I applaud JCP for capitalizing on the “low hanging fruit,” but it will be interesting to see how they capitalize on the meat of the program.

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