The Perspective 
Saturday, 11 March 2006
When J.C. Penney decided to reinvigorate its brand, it harnessed kiosk technology and a trendy marketing strategy to do it. The company is renting 1 Times Square, the historic former New York Times building and perennial site of New York’s New Year’s bash, and installed a “pop-up” store that opened on March 3 and will close on March 26.
 
The store inhabits 15,000 square feet on the three lower floors and employs two 18-foot tall ads on the side of the building. Inside, there are 22 kiosks, 18 digital signs and 96 mannequins. USA Today described entering the store as like walking into a commercial.
 
It’s a new jingle for a company that, after losing $928 million in 2003, seemed to be singing its swan song.
 
Individual pieces of merchandise are displayed as if in a museum. Gone are the classic clothing racks of yore. To make a purchase, a customer uses a kiosk and the goods are shipped from off-site to his or her home.
 
J.C. Penney’s pop-up store sits just a couple blocks away from the Virgin Megastore, another landmark self-service deployment, with 150 self-service listening stations.
 
It’s no coincidence that enormous companies are deploying kiosks to create next-generation customer experiences in a crossroads of American commerce. Likewise, it’s no coincidence that enormous companies are banking on self-service products. At the recent National Retail Federation’s “Big Show” in New York City, NCR’s Nelson Gomez, vice president of self-service solutions for North America, said self-service will be NCR’s double digit growth vehicle for 2006.
 
Gomez’ estimation isn’t solitary. Analysts predict nine percent growth in the self-service industry this year. System developers expect a boom year. Microsoft, Symbol, IBM, Wincor Nixdorf and other large cap multinationals are deploying more and more self-service equipment and software than ever.
 
And it’s all because of retailers like J.C. Penney cutting costs, enhancing their brand and improving customer service through self-service.
Posted by: Bryan Harris AT 01:41 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  
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