Photo: By hulk368 on Instagram
We’ve gotten an extraordinary number of emails from JCPenney employees and customers alike about what they think about what former Apple retail chief Ron Johnson is doing with the company.This one from a loyal, long-time JCPenney customer stuck out.
It’s about couponing — or the lack of it. It’s one of Johnson’s biggest, and most controversial, initiatives.
She wrote it in the form of a letter to JCPenney’s CEO, in response to his statement that “coupons are a drug“:
Dear Mr. Johnson,
I am a fabulous mum from the Pacific Northwest with just one major chain store in our small town and that is JCPenney.
When I heard of the news of your price changes I could feel a big “OH NO” that this is going to be a situation. I wanted to write you then and I am sorry I didn’t, but maybe this way you might get my letter.
You mentioned that coupons were like a drug and you are so correct, but the problem is we consumers still need the HIGH.
The best way I can explain to you how it feels to be a JCPenney customer with a coupon plus a sale is that it’s like when you are dating.
If you are chasing a gorgeous girl that you really want and she is at your reach, but you have a few fun ways to get her, that is so much more fun than having her handed over on a plate.
We live for the chase and challenge.
Hugs to you,
This is something JCPenney execs admitted this week. They didn’t realise how much people love their coupons.
The issue, in the end, is quite simple. JCPenney wants to “wean” customers off coupons. Instead of responding to customer’s wants and needs, it’s telling them what they want and need.
For some brands (like, say, Apple), this strategy has worked perfectly. You become a trend-setter, and people follow. But can it work for a “old economy” brand like JCPenney trying to completely change its image?
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