Tag: E-commerce

J.C. Penney and E-commerce

Woman checks her phone outside the entrance of a J.C. Penney store in New YorkThere is good news and bad news when it comes to the future of J.C. Penney. The good news is that online sales for the store, J.C. Penney Co Inc (JCP) rose 26.3 percent over the holiday season/quarter. The bad news is that these numbers still don’t take J.C. Penney back to its former top position as an early e-commerce pioneer.

J.C. Penney was one of the first major big-business retailers to start offering e-commerce. They began their online business in 1995 while maintaining a large catalog business until 2011. By that year, the company had reached $1.52 billion in online sales. Unfortunately, those sales fell by a third in 2012. As this was happening, online sales for Kohl’s Corp (KSS) and Macy’s Inc (M) had huge gains. Some point to J.C. Penney’s loss as management missteps under ex-CEO Ron Johnson (especially his disastrous “fair and square” pricing strategy) and too little investment in website technology.

J.C. Penney’s online sales improved when Chief Executive Myron Ullman returned to the company. Despite the positive changes he has made, there is still a lot of work to be done to catch up to competitors. Penney plans to close 33 stores in May of this year and improve online sales by investing in jcp.com.

They plan to improve the website by bringing back popular items that sold online like home goods, men’s big and tall clothing, and baby furniture. Additionally, the company hired Michael Rodgers, the former Saks Inc Chief Information Officer to better integrate stores and e-commerce as well as establish an online costumer loyalty program. J.C. Penney will need a large spike in online sales to catch up to competitors and reclaim their position as e-commerce pioneers. If they are able to do so, it will be all the more impressive for having overcome challenges introduced by prior management.

Study Says Small Business Mobile Banking Services Lacking in the US

Mobile-Banking-Solutions

Small businesses often have to run their business while on the g0, but mobile banking services for small business has not kept pace with consumer banking services, according to a recently released study by the Aite Group. U.S. banks need to make a greater effort to provide specialized small-business mobile banking services rather than simply rebranding consumer mobile banking services. The research, performed in September, surveyed 1,003 U.S. companies with revenue under $20 million. The survey found that roughly 32% of those businesses do their banking via mobile device. Meanwhile, while 65% of U.S. banks with greater than $10 billion in assets offer some form of mobile banking to small businesses, only 30% of banks with less than $10 billion in assets and 20% of credit unions do so. Even amongst those that offer services, this includes both rebranded consumer banking services as well as true business-specific mobile platforms. Aite claims that the small businesses market is severely underserved in terms of mobile banking. Rebranding or repackaging consumer services into small business mobile banking platforms creates customer dissatisfaction due to  limited product capabilities. For example, while 15% of the survey respondents are currently able to send mobile ACH transfers, an additional 30% of respondents desire this capability.  Banks should include in their small business banking services more useful features, such as ACH and wire transfers. Adding those features that aren’t offered to consumers would prompt more small businesses to use mobile banking; especially with a full third of those surveyed by Aite Group said that they would like to move over to mobile banking by next year, and “banks that offer mobile banking services to small businesses find that the customers using these services are among their most profitable and loyal clients.”