Out & About: JC Penney’s “Find More” Touch Screen

Shoe shopping on Saturday at the mall with 3 kids – PAINFUL.  I should clarify that – boot shopping for my wife on a Saturday afternoon and taking care of the 3 kids in a crowded section of a crowded store – HEADACHE PAINFUL.  My wife found her boots, and in the end, that’s really all that matters.  What I found, while trying to keep the clan busy in the shoe section, was JC Penney’s “Find More” touch screen kiosk.  Even though it was pretty much hidden from major traffic, it wasn’t hidden from us.  It provided a great source of entertainment, and I even had a chance to try to teach my daughter some of the finer points of usability and interface design.  It was an awesome conversation.

I haven’t used my scorecard in a while, so let’s dust it off and put this bad boy to the test.

Purpose – Just as almost every one of these kiosks I’ve reviewed here, this is designed to sell products.  The kiosk itself does not serve as a self-checkout unit, so if we want to get technical about it, it’s designed to help customers find anything that JC Penney offers and make the shopping experience more convenient.  Appropriately named, “Find More,” I suspect anyone who walks up to this kiosk and sees what it is (title is big and bold at the top) and hears the opening V.O. to “choose from thousands of online only products,” will know that if JC Penney has it, they can find it here.

Drama – It’s big and bold so from that standpoint, it’s quite dramatic.  But it stands out like a big, ugly piece of technology in an inconvenient location in the store.  This is clearly a fine piece of equipment – it looks like it would withstand a tornado, but it is not easy on the eyes.  I also think the placement makes it seem like an afterthought more than a purposeful tool for customers.  Not only is it away from any aisle, it’s tucked in the shoe department, which is crammed in the first place.  The only reason I saw it is because I’m always looking for this sort of thing.  Even if I wasn’t, the only reason I would have seen it is because I was sequestered in this particular section of the store.  Since they only have one unit, I would really suggest putting it next to one of the escalators or store entrances.  At the very least, move it up close to a busy aisle.  It’s too good of a tool to be hidden.  Insofar as the call-to-action goes, once you do see the kiosk, they’ve done a good job with big moving images and type and they support it with audio.  From that standpoint, they did a great job.

Usability – I would say the experience is a mix between an interactive magazine and a website.  They have the real estate to utilize more images than words and they capitalize on it.  But they structure it very much like a website, with the primary, secondary, and tertiary navigation in clear buckets.  I like the way they duplicated the idea of breadcrumbs on the left-hand side of the interface.  It makes navigating deep into this experience easy.  All of the buttons/hot spots are large enough to press with any size finger and I love all of their instructional copy throughout (ie. – “Touch a Category to Continue.”)  They’ve made this as close to browsing a website without duplicating the website experience as you can get, and I suspect that will help them with customer involvement.

Interactivity – This is a single touch experience and the touch screen was responsive.  All of their buttons/hotspots were large enough to get me where I wanted to go and I never had to press anything more than twice.  They’ve even got the nice swipe capability that one expects from anything touch-related thanks to smartphones.  They’ve also worked in a couple of extensions to this experience with the ability to email yourself and print out any of this information right from the kiosk.  I would think these features are table stakes by now, but I’ve seen some experiences that don’t include them.  So, as I would expect from JCP, they’ve clearly thought this through.

Information – As you would expect, they’ve got any and all product information you can imagine.  It’s all hooked to JC Penney’s system, so if this particular store doesn’t have the item you’re looking for, you can see which one does, where it is, and even a way to contact them.  They use large images and audio to attract customers to the kiosk, and throughout the experience, they have nice videos that support particular products (a favorite feature of my daughters).  I was impressed that the experience was ADA accessible.  The one downfall was the absence of social extensions, even a way to get to JC Penney’s FB page and/or Twitter page.  Customer reviews should become table stakes before too long.

Personalization – Other than the email and print options, this experience is the same for everyone.  They could really make this a special experience for a loyalty program.  Everything I said about the opportunities Target has to personalize their kiosks apply here, too.

This is a great example of an IOOH solution, particularly a retail-based kiosk.  I think JC Penney is one of those retailers who get it.  They understand multi-channel and how important it is to engage consumers throughout their shopping and brand journey.  I wasn’t surprised to see this in the store.  I’m looking forward to seeing how this experience evolves because although I think they’re doing a great job with what they have right now, I think there are many easy opportunities that they are missing.

Have any of you seen this kiosk?  Would love to hear your thoughts, too!

3 thoughts on “Out & About: JC Penney’s “Find More” Touch Screen

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention 11th Screen » Out & About: JC Penney’s “Find More” Touch Screen -- Topsy.com

  2. Lynn Marentette

    I encountered the same screen at a mall in Monroe, NC. and created a little video of my interaction with the screen. In my opinion, “Find More” was a bit confusing to use. It has much room for improvement, so I put it in my “usability hall of shame” YouTube playlist. I admit that it is better than most of the examples in my playlist, partly because it addressed the multi-channel concept.

    I stayed near the kiosk and only one person went up to it in 45 minutes, a little boy, even though the store was crowded. Part of the problem, in my opinion, is that the display was difficult to see upon approaching the area. Once activated, I found the screen too busy at times. I was confused by the accessibility feature. It was difficult to use.

  3. Mike Cearley Post author

    Hi Lynn, thanks for stopping by and sharing your experience – I love that! I agree that they have a lot of room to grow, not the least of which is in the form factor and the placement. I would love to know if they’ve done any A/B testing in placement. All they have to do IMO is place it close to a major isle and a fair amount of people would use it. Then, they might better understand HOW people use it so they can make the right usability/content modifications to it.

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