Wednesday, April 10, 2013

JCP is not Apple

When JC Penney went looking for someone to take over the reins of the venerable but struggling retailer, Ron Johnson seemed like the perfect savior. After all, oversaw the creation of the wildly successful Apple Stores. How could he not succeed at JCP?

Let's start with the fact that JCP doesn't sell iMacs, iBooks, iPhones, iPads and iPods. They sell Levis, Nike, Liz Claiborne, Disney, Cuisinart and Keurig.

Apple Stores were built to be the best place to buy the hottest products in the world.

JCP sells the same products as Kohl's, Target, Boston Stores, Macy's and WalMart.

Apple Stores have "Geniuses" who can help customers select the right products and provide expertise on how to use them.

JCP employees know how to use the cash register. 

I have no idea why I'd choose JCP over any of the other options I have to buy my 501s.

Consequently after just 17 months, Johnson is out as CEO of JCP and the strategies that made Apple stores successful are being replaced with sales, specials and other traditional retail tactics. 

In hindsight it is obvious that what worked for Apple wasn't going to work for JC Penney, because your marketing strategy is only as good as the products you're selling.

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