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JCPenney ditches “fair and square” pricing for old sales tactics

After a year of trying simplified sales, JCPenney is nixing the “fair and square” model and going back to convoluted sale tactics their demographic wants, as proven by slumping sales.

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JCPenney’s fair and square model still around

JCPenney has been experimenting with and tweaking their business model under new CEO, Ron Johnson, as they respond and adapt to a changing economic climate. Johnson has been seeking ways to not only expand the company’s market share but to modernize and streamline the shopping experience.

These experiments have come with mixed results, as seen in a 10 percent drop in store traffic, which most believe is due to the company’s removal of coupons in favor of a “fair and square” pricing model where they simply keep prices low, with rounded numbers, offering a full month of the lowest sales price. Simple but different, and while risky, some believe it could have paid off in the long run.

According to USA Today, nearly a year after sales and coupons were ditched by the company, JCPenney will be bringing back sales.

“Our sales have gone backward a little more than we expected, but that doesn’t change the vision or the strategy,” Johnson told USA Today. “We made changes and we learned an incredible amount. That is what’s informing our tactics as we go forward.”

Going back to the traditional sale model

For decades, the legacy brand had been offering weekly sales, weekend sales, white sales, and while simply offering the best price possible makes sense, customers didn’t catch on, as reflected in sales numbers, which ultimately led to the company’s Marketing Chief who was let go with no public explanation.

“We’re moving away from the word ‘month-long value’ because no one really understood that, to calling it what we intended to do, a sale,” Johnson said. Prior to his reign, the company offered nearly 600 sales per year across their departments, which customers apparently understood better than “fair and square” which may say more about the company’s demographic than the intelligence of an experimental CEO.

One of the first sales offered will be a pre-Valentine’s Day sale, 20 percent off on all fine jewelry from February 1st through February 14th.

jcpenney sale

The experiments aren’t over yet

While business must be tended, it is disappointing the criticism the company is receiving for experimenting and trying to simplify shopping rather than offer hundreds of confusing, randomly timed sales. Johnson’s willingness to try new things, pivot, and go back when necessary is admirable, and fortunately, he hasn’t let this experiment hold him back from trying more innovation in retail.

Various reports indicate that the company will be adding manufacturers’ and competitors’ prices to all price tags in the store, which naturally has already drawn criticism as The New York Post claims employees were being told to arbitrarily fabricate these higher prices, which the company has vehemently denied, stating that all prices posted are approved by JCPenney’s legal team.

What is most fascinating is not only the level of criticism the company has received, but how it must feel for Johnson personally – imagine a shoe repair shop employing three people including the founder being called to task for trying a sale, quitting the sale after it didn’t work, then trying new marketing tactics. At least in this scenario, the repair shop and JCPenney are trying new things rather than failing and blaming the economy or consumers.

Marti Trewe reports on business and technology news, chasing his passion for helping entrepreneurs and small businesses to stay well informed in the fast paced 140-character world. Marti rarely sleeps and thrives on reader news tips, especially about startups and big moves in leadership.

Business News

New company beats Amazon with next morning delivery?

(BUSINESS NEWS) Amazon has a new competitor in South Korea: Coupang, with faster shipping than Prime.

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What if I told you Amazon Prime’s, 1-3 day guaranteed delivery time isn’t the fastest e-commerce service the world has to offer? You would think I’m lying right?

Coupang, one of the world’s fastest delivery services located in South Korea, allows you to order any item, anytime before midnight, promising that it will be at your doorstep by 7am! (I wasn’t lying!) With 70% of its employees living within a 10 minute radius of a Coupang center, 80% of residents residing in populated cities and 95% of it’s population owning a smartphone, South Korea has become the perfect e-commerce epicenter. Coupang employees over 10,000 people who together deliver 99.3% of all orders within 24 hours. Imagine it’s Tuesday night, you’re falling asleep and suddenly remember you forgot to get your wife a present for her 50th birthday tomorrow. You have two options: accept your fate of being put in the dog house for three long weeks, or quickly order a few great items off Coupang’s website that’ll be delivered BEFORE she even wakes up!

Like Amazon, Coupang allows its customers to create a profile, store desired products in a list, and check out using your saved payment method. Half of South Korea’s total population of 51.6 million has installed Coupang’s app with a surge of people trying Coupang for the first time during stay at home orders due to the Coronavirus pandemic. The company struggled to meet fulfillment demands, especially those including PPE, household cleaning products, and children’s necessities. While many companies are struggling to stay afloat, Coupang is quickly adapting to meet consumer demands. In March, the company opened a new logistics center to expand its overnight/same day delivery services and is currently working to reach an even broader population.

Believe it or not, right before Coupang received a $2 Billion investment from SoftBanks, its founder, Kim Bom debated walking away from it all. Bom founded the company in 2010, receiving the investment in 2018 and is expected to pursue an IPO by the end of 2020. So for all of you entrepreneurs wondering if you should give up on that decade long dream…DON’T. Coupang went from selling a few hundred items each day to 3.3 million. Now that’s what you call entrepreneurism!

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Business News

Google plans to pay publishers for content (a little too late)?

(BUSINESS NEWS) Google will finally pay publishers for news, but only a few, and they have to meet Google standards.

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I mean…could you get any greedier Google? (Chandler Bings voice).

After years and years of pressure and complaints from publishers that Google’s search feed doesn’t properly recognize them or the news they work so hard to report, Google has finally announced that they will begin to pay publishers for content. But only some.

WHAT A LOAD OF BS.

According to the News Media Alliance, Google profited 4.7 BILLION in 2019 as a search engine for the news industry. So now, not only is Google fleecing its content providers and the writers who are working to create material for them, but it’s quite likely that Google’s algorithm is pushing paid news to the top of its search feed. What does this mean for users? It means that for one, you will see what they want you to see, but most importantly, it means that Google HAS the money to pay its publishers but chooses not too!

Google’s announcement to start paying publishers excludes all publishers outside Brazil, Germany, and Australia. Even within the countries that Google closed a deal with, there are many that do not meet its “high quality content” requirement for a paid position. The problem with all this nonsense is that we stopped letting the news come from others like us, and instead, according to the U.S News Media Alliance, the news is entirely owned by a handful of companies. You may have 635 channels on your TV, but if you google…or maybe you should duck duck go it, you’ll find that all those channels lead back to one huge organization.

SO WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON?

Google has definitely been pressured to make some big changes, and while paying publishers is a good first step in the right direction, is it enough to make up for years of damage?

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Business News

International start up turns LinkedIn profiles into resumes

(BUSINESS NEWS) Rezi is an AI driven app that can turn LinkedIn profiles into resumes within minutes. Save time and optimize your chances of getting noticed.

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If you have already put work into creating your LinkedIn profile, you can parlay that into a resume with a plug-in download and a few clicks thanks to the AI-powered resume builder, Rezi. The company started as a weekend project in 2015 by CEO and Founder, Jacob Jacquet, to address the challenges his recently-graduated friends were having with writing hirable resumes.

According to the Rezi website, the company began by studying resumes and how they interacted with Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS), which companies use to manage online applications. Rezi wanted to educate job seekers on ATS while developing resources to create optimized resumes. This effort began as a resume template offered on a WordPress site. Once it hit Reddit with an explanation of the success of the resume, it quickly gained traction. Rezi then decided to focus on the South Korean job seeker market and became the most recognizable global startup in Seoul, according to the Rezi website.

The company’s next step was to go the direction of software as a service (SaaS) and support job seekers who wanted to make a resume in minutes. Rezi now offers a free plug-in version where users can transform their LinkedIn profile into a resume.

They also offer AI keyword targeting which helps users write resumes tailored to the job description for which they are applying by giving you keywords to include from a pasted job description that would best accommodate ATS filters. In addition to resume keywords, Rezi can also identify formatting errors such as missing bullet points, buzzwords, and useful content. Flexible formatting tools allow users to customize resume aesthetics such as font size, line height, and zoom level right within the app. The Rezi Score tool will then give instant feedback to guide resume formatting.

They also offer professional resume writers to edit resumes and provide suggestions and tips to improve content. One of the most unique features of this offering is that Rezi offers a private, updated, and sharable link to your resume. Users can get started for free but monthly plans range from $3-$9 and quarterly plans from $8-$89.

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