Following its 2020 bankruptcy reorganization, retailer JCPenney restructured its brand strategy and offerings to better accommodate the evolving retail business model and enhance the in-person and digital shopping experience for its customers in 2023.
These efforts have included expanding into the virtual cosmetics space through its partnership with Revive to develop AI skincare and augmented reality makeup try-on technology, CosmeticsDesign reported in September of last year. In addition to an investment in digital technology, JCPenney has also considered its online and in-store retail experiences and has expanded its offerings through the JCPenney Beauty initiative.
To better understand the impact of JCPenney Beauty, CosmeticsDesign spoke with Jo Osborne, a senior executive for GMM Beauty at JCPenney, to learn about the current launch and how the retailer is working to improve customer experiences.
Intersection of online and in-store retail shopping
E-commerce has boosted retail sales during the pandemic, but certain drawbacks to online shopping have proven challenging for the cosmetics and personal beauty care industries. For example, the inability of consumers to directly interact with products can ultimately deter purchase conversions or potentially result in an unsatisfactory customer experience.
To address issues like these, JCPenney Beauty is taking a two-pronged approach that leverages “both online and physical shopping flows” to help consumers bridge the gap between the two. The trends show that consumers are “seeking the physical experience and craving the opportunity to discover new brands and products,” Osbourne said, “while having the opportunity to explore hands-on.”
The momentum behind online shopping has remained steady, and the “traction we’ve seen for JCPenney Beauty online is what inspired us to take complete control of JCP.com homepage beauty,” he said. Osborne, but there are also “a lot of customers who come into our stores and order products they’ve discovered online or through our social channels,” highlighting the importance of comprehensive customer experience offerings.
What’s in store for in store?
Currently halfway through the introduction of 610 store locations in the US, JCPenney Beauty has so far been positively received, Osborne said. “Every time we introduce a new location, it is very exciting to see the enthusiasm of our customers, eager to experience the product offering, touch and feel the new products that they were only able to purchase through our website.”
Offered as a complement to InStyle salons, JCPenney Beauty provides consumers with a comprehensive personal beauty care experience that allows them to build relationships with the retailer and its representatives. The locations offer more than 170 “incredible brands like thirteen lune, Landing International and Shades by Shan,” Osbourne said, and are staffed by Beauty Associates who are “incredible and obsessed with the brands that we carry, so they really enjoy talking to our customers and educate them on the latest products and make personalized recommendations.
It is the people who make the difference, he explained. “When a customer visits the store, we focus on the experiential moment: the sample of the product, the pigmentation or scent that they first smelled, and where they take it,” something that retailers can’t replicate. in an online shopping experience.
JCPenney Beauty reinforces the experiences shared by loyal clients and users of InStyle salons who have historically supported a “high rate of return to our salon business.” By “using our amazing stylists to educate customers on what they can find in the Store,” Osbourne said, “we’re able to focus on what our customers want and what they didn’t even know they needed.”
The added value to the customer experience has been very fruitful, he concludes, “we also continue to evolve our salons.” Most recently, JCPenney expanded its salon treatment options to include Murad services at 150 locations by the end of 2023 as a further reinvestment in comprehensive in-store personal beauty care offerings.
Continued expansion in the new year
The vision of the JCPenney Beauty initiative considers the consumer perspective by offering choices that cover “massive, massive, prestige beauty products,” Osbourne said, and success requires both “customer engagement and joy in our attitude of a department store.” do things differently.”
Since 2020, JCPenney has continued to invest in a consumer-first mindset shift that drives positive customer feedback and results. The success of this strategy continues to depend on the retailer closely following consumer trends in 2023 and beyond.