JCPenney Chain One of First to Launch Apple Watch App
Given Apple’s efforts to position the Apple Watch as a luxury fashion item, it would be natural if only upscale chains like Bloomingdale’s and Neiman Marcus offered apps for the device in the early days of its launch. Instead one of the first department stores to develop an app for the smartwatch is JCPenney.
JCPenney? The venerable bargain chain that has been steadily losing business to rivals like Sears, Target and Walmart? The app does sound helpful since it offers functions for both the in-store and online shopper. Users can scout the four closest JCPenney stores for an out-of-stock item and once inside the store they can get directions to the desired product. Items already in the shopper’s virtual basket can also be located in-store. Online shoppers cannot actually use their Apple Watches to order (at least not yet) but they can scan suggested items and add them to a saved list where they can be purchased later through a laptop, tablet or smartphone. Online orders en route can be checked via the app.
This is certainly an ambitious undertaking for a chain not known for making waves.
As JCPenney’s executive VP for omnichannel Mike Rodgers stated, “We have to move fast, and this is a risky proposition. No one’s ever done this before.” Still, he feels that the app will become a favorite with shoppers. “When someone’s in the store shopping, the easier you can make it for them to get information about the shopping experience, the better it’s going to be.”
While it’s doubtful that the buyers of Apple’s $10,000+ Edition models will be doing much shopping at JCPenney stores, it won’t be long before the less expensive models will be on millions of wrists so pretty soon we’re likely to see more chains follow suit with an app for the iconic smartwatch.