The Truth About Shopping At The "New JC Penney"
It's been almost a full month since the launch of the new J.C. Penney pricing strategy, and in case you were wondering, I can officially report that it's safe to come out and shop there again. I recently took a leap into the deep unknown to uncover the truth about how the new strategy affects shoppers and their in-store experience, and I was honestly surprised by what I discovered.
A Modern, Clean Look with Simple Price Tags
The first thing I noticed as I walked into the store was simple, large, brightly lit signage. I also noticed that the signs appeared to be themed for the month of February. Some signs even included a "Feb" logo. The new look felt fresh, modern and clean. I instantly appreciated the absence of cluttered sale ad stands and confusing store policy notices.
Once inside I noticed more of the same: less ads, less signs, less mess. It felt like an entirely brand new store. The racks throughout the store seemed less cluttered, more spread out and generally easier to shop. Another huge difference in appearance was that of the price tags. They are now extremely simple and straightforward. They have no handwritten discounts, slashes, stickers or discount markings of any kind. Just a regular marked sale price rounded to a whole dollar, a brand label, short item description, a bar code and in some instances a size. I found it extremely easy and convenient to locate item prices on both the sale rack signs and the price tags. Overall, the store appearance and setup was very pleasing to the eye.
Unique Signs Clearly Identify Monthly Specials
Normally when I walk into a store, the first place I head is the sale rack, but being as those don't exist in J.C. Penney stores any longer, I instead sought out their "Monthly Specials." These one month only sales were easily identifiable by their unique pink signs labeled "February." The discount price/percentage off was clearly labeled on the signs and the item price tags were left alone. Other sections I sought out were the "Best Price" sale racks, which have replaced Clearance sales and sections. They now consist of items with a single price adjustment—no additional savings piled on top off other, confusing markdowns and discounts.
Items with these deductions are easily spotted underneath blue "Best Price" signage. It's also good to remember, and fairly easy to notice, that as a whole all of the prices in J.C. Penney were slashed at least 40 percent or lower than last year's prices, and are now classified as "Every Day" low pricing.
I chose to purchase a pair of earrings with a monthly value discount. The ticket price said $10, but according to the sign the earrings were on sale for $7. Sure enough, my checkout process was quick and simple and the earrings came to the correct $7 price. Notably, I had a huge feeling of relief as I approached the sales counter for checkout, as this was the first purchase I'd made (virtually anywhere) where I haven't had to fret over having a coupon or sale ad with me, and where I wasn't concerned of whether or not the price would be less the next day or weekend. That feeling alone will be enough to make a return customer out of me.
I must start by saying that I've worked in retail and I fully support strict return policies. I may not always be satisfied as a customer with them, but I understand their importance and do my very best not to complain. That being said, there was absolutely no reason at all for to me to complain or be even slightly irritated with the return experience I had at J.C. Penney. It was quick, painless and so simple that I'm finding it difficult even to describe. I approached the counter, said I needed to do a return, handed the cashier my receipt and within less than 2 minutes walked away with a full refund back to my debit card with no questions asked. That's it—truly as simple as JCP promises!
The Final Verdict: 99% Satisfied!
I'll keep it simple: (after all, that appears to be the new chic) I'm 99% satisfied with shopping at the "New J.C. Penney." I will however be reserving 1% in the event that this experience was a complete fluke. If that is the case, you can bet I'll have an ear full to report back!