JC Penney : Cutting Coupons Cuts Customers
Every trace of Ron Johnson’s 17 months at the head of JC Penney are now gone. But the loss of a billion dollars in sales resulting from his bad decisions is far from forgotten.
The Failure :
Coming fresh from Apple, Ron Johnson decided to do away with JC Penney’s popular discount coupons and to replace them with everyday low prices. This was a strategic mistake that set off a landslide of consequences.
Customers no longer recognized THEIR JC Penney, complaints were up and sales were down. The board ended up firing Ron Johnson. His mistake? Trying to force Apple’s marketing strategy onto a traditional and conservative retailer, with no real understanding of its brand or its customers.
The Lesson :
Every brand has its own DNA and you have to be very careful when you tinker with a brand’s core identity. Ron Johnson had done well at Target and Apple, but sometimes success can lead to arrogance and detachment. Could this just be a case of the wrong person, at the wrong place, at the wrong time?
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