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(Forbes)   There's a lack of sales at Penney's   (forbes.com ) divider line
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8892 clicks; posted to Business » on 15 Mar 2012 at 1:11 AM (4 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2012-03-15 08:29:35 AM  
The new Oldsmobiles are in early this year!
 
2012-03-15 08:33:41 AM  

incendi: I turn, face them fully. I give about a 2 second pause filled with a critical glare. And then I slowly, deliberately say, "No. No, I don't think there is."


Oh my god, somebody tried to offer you assistance. The nerve of these people!

You know what, you should be rude to other people who try to assist you. That's a way to make the world a better place.


You know, there's a chance not everybody who enters Best Buy knows where to find an HDMI cable, or even know what it looks like. But you should be a dick to every employee at Best Buy so you can piss them all off for trying to help you.
 
2012-03-15 08:40:02 AM  

incendi: This.

Every time I have a most unfortunate need to walk in to a Best Buy, I'm assaulted every 2-3 minutes by a blueshirt. They have nothing to offer me. They don't know anything about their products, or really even electronics in general.

"Is there anything I can help you with?" they say.

I turn, face them fully. I give about a 2 second pause filled with a critical glare. And then I slowly, deliberately say, "No. No, I don't think there is."

Somebody else will try after a few minutes, but I very rarely get any further annoyance from the same person.


Treating salespeople like shiat makes you no better.

Just so "no thanks" and walk away.
 
2012-03-15 08:41:08 AM  

TheGreatGazoo: NIXON YOU DOLT!!!!!: gadian: I don't want to haggle or negotiate. I don't want to feel like I'm expected to haggle or negotiate or believe that the salesman is going to go in the back and talk to his boss on my behalf to get me a deal. Just let me pay what's on the sticker and leave me the hell alone. I don't often need representative help if I'm choosing between the tan or the sand colored bath towels. If I do, I'll come find you, I promise.

Can we get a car dealership to adopt this sales strategy?

Or better yet skip the dealer. I'd rather go to GM.com, pick what I want, and for their $700 delivery charge they can drop it off at my driveway.


But how will you get the undercoat?
 
2012-03-15 08:43:09 AM  

Bunnyhat: WTF kind of article was that.

So JCPenney had the lowest price of all the stores.
It had no hoops to jump through.
No one tried to dazzle you in paying a higher price.

Instead you have a knowledgeable salesman tell you exactly what you wanted to know and didn't push you into making a decision right then and there; and yet somehow this is a bad thing?
First of all, very few of JcPenneys salespeople work on commission.
Second of all, it seems like their biggest complaint is that they can't leave feeling like they got a deal....even though the price was already the lowest out of all the other stores they visited. What the fark do you want lady?


JCPenney fails because they didn't hold her hand and push her into buying the couch. Frankly I would rather shop at a place that has salepeople that can tell me what I need to know, but lets me make my own decisions. I hate going to places that hound me over and over again as I browse.


Wow, you missed the point of the article entirely. It had nothing to do with the customers experience at all. It was about making sure you have buy-in from your sales team before you roll out a new campaign. If anyone's hand needed held it was the saleman.
 
2012-03-15 08:47:12 AM  
Interesting: she's biatching about not getting the type of service that one would usually get from a person who gets paid well while openly admitting that she's going to the cheapest place around. Maybe if she would pay more for her couch, the workers would get paid more, and be more happy to assist her in whatever her ego needs.

Cry me a river, lady. Those cheap prices come from somewhere, and it is always the worker. You either get cheap prices or a 'good shopping experience.' And a lot of people chose the former a very long time ago.
 
2012-03-15 08:56:52 AM  

Lukeonia1: I dunno, I'll have to see about these new "fair-and-square low prices."

As far as I can remember the last thing I bought at JC Penney that wasn't at least 50% off was a $32 tie. It's a nice store with nice stuff, but jeez it's expensive.

/not cheap, just poor


Are we talking about the same Pennys?
 
2012-03-15 09:01:25 AM  
Next issue: writer buys new house, bemoans lack of rats.
 
2012-03-15 09:14:11 AM  
I worked commissioned sales in Circuit City, they sent me to Atlanta for a week to learn the products I would be selling, tested us, made us study a lot and do role playing on how to sell without being overbearing or too weak. They did a great job at making us feel motivated and enthusiastic. Being on commission meant that if you were happy, you'd tell your friends to come see me the next time they were wanting to purchase a computer. We took pride in our work and made sure we sold a good fit because if the customer brought it back, they would take that commission back from me as well.

Then Best Buy comes along and CC thinks they have to compete with them instead of selling the public on the differences between commissioned sales and $6 an hour high school kid with no product knowledge. Well, we see how well that went. In comes hhgregg and looks like they are doing the same thing as CC but making it work.

Yeah, commissioned sales people greeting you might be a hassle but if you actually make a purchase and have trouble with it, chances are that sales person will be a lot more interested in keeping you happy than a highschool student working for peanuts.

So, what the hell is the point of this gibberish? Commissioned sales almost always keeps the people that's working the floors motivated. If the customer isn't happy, the sales person doesn't get paid. Going to an hourly wage is what ultimately killed CC.
 
2012-03-15 09:26:34 AM  

Bunnyhat: WTF kind of article was that.

So JCPenney had the lowest price of all the stores.
It had no hoops to jump through.
No one tried to dazzle you in paying a higher price.

Instead you have a knowledgeable salesman tell you exactly what you wanted to know and didn't push you into making a decision right then and there; and yet somehow this is a bad thing?
First of all, very few of JcPenneys salespeople work on commission.
Second of all, it seems like their biggest complaint is that they can't leave feeling like they got a deal....even though the price was already the lowest out of all the other stores they visited. What the fark do you want lady?


JCPenney fails because they didn't hold her hand and push her into buying the couch. Frankly I would rather shop at a place that has salepeople that can tell me what I need to know, but lets me make my own decisions. I hate going to places that hound me over and over again as I browse.


but but...if you get 25% off of $1000, that's better than paying $600 for the same couch. Duh.

/people are kinda stupid
//those were hypothetical numbers,
 
2012-03-15 09:32:55 AM  
Going to an hourly wage is what ultimately killed CC.

I didn't go to CC because their prices sucked and I hated waiting 20 minutes for the warehouse to bring my purchase up.
 
2012-03-15 09:33:48 AM  

NIXON YOU DOLT!!!!!: gadian: I don't want to haggle or negotiate. I don't want to feel like I'm expected to haggle or negotiate or believe that the salesman is going to go in the back and talk to his boss on my behalf to get me a deal. Just let me pay what's on the sticker and leave me the hell alone. I don't often need representative help if I'm choosing between the tan or the sand colored bath towels. If I do, I'll come find you, I promise.

Screw you lady, you're not helping.

Can we get a car dealership to adopt this sales strategy?


1) Doesn't Scion operate on this concept?
2) Regardless, working with internet sales mgrs essentially does the same thing. I see you have this car listed for $20k. I want it for $18k. The return email is either yes or no.
 
2012-03-15 09:37:02 AM  

MugzyBrown: Going to an hourly wage is what ultimately killed CC.

I didn't go to CC because their prices sucked and I hated waiting 20 minutes for the warehouse to bring my purchase up.


That store must have been pretty bad because CC was the first national chain to implement a Low Price Guarantee, no reason for them not to be competitive, especially since a large part of the job was to secret shop competitors to make sure we had the lowest prices compared to other local stores.
 
2012-03-15 09:44:32 AM  
I get my work shoes from there. Its one of the only places I can get a pair of shoes that won't set off airport metal decectors for a decent price and where I can actually try the shoes on before I buy them.
 
2012-03-15 09:46:25 AM  
Does this mean I can no longer refer to the store as "Jacques Penné"?
 
2012-03-15 09:53:30 AM  
I don't do much shopping any more, especially at the mall. But the experiences I've had at J C Penney have been relatively positive. The salespeople are very helpful and pleasant to deal with. And the merchandise is available and as advertised. I hope they survive.
 
2012-03-15 10:05:43 AM  
Article says a lot more about the author than the salesperson.

/probably runs a key along a foot and then asks for a 10% "nick and scratch" discount
//and seriously, you ask for sales, not coupons. the whole POINT of coupons is they get you to come in when you wouldn't otherwise. YOU ARE ALREADY IN YOU TRIFLING SHIAT
 
2012-03-15 10:12:32 AM  

RedThree: Article says a lot more about the author than the salesperson.

/probably runs a key along a foot and then asks for a 10% "nick and scratch" discount
//and seriously, you ask for sales, not coupons. the whole POINT of coupons is they get you to come in when you wouldn't otherwise. YOU ARE ALREADY IN YOU TRIFLING SHIAT


Since a coupon, a sale, and simply asking for a discount all accomplish the same thing I think your vitriolic attempt to distinguish them in any significant way is more than a little misguided. The whole point of allowing ANY of those things is to get you to buy something. Since he hadn't actually bought the sofa, it's a legitimate request. Or rather would have been if he'd been able to say he saw it $X cheaper elsewhere, "can you match that price with a coupon/sale/haggling?"

If you just want to drag people into your store hire a clown or offer a giveaway so they have a reason other than buying things to come into the place where you're selling things.
 
2012-03-15 10:32:57 AM  
Madmonk:

Cool story bro!

But yeah, I feel ya there. People just want to take and take, and really have little to no use for their fellow man. Then they wonder why their fellow man snaps and snarls at them.

/forbes is kind of the opposite of The Consumerist, if you think about it
 
2012-03-15 10:36:55 AM  

Lou Brown: AverageAmericanGuy: What the author is bemoaning is the Amazon-ification of retail. As someone mentioned above, the salesperson isn't even a salesperson anymore, he's an order taker. With no opportunity and incentive to increase his own sales, he devolves into doing nothing but explaining the price and then taking leave of the customer. There is something lost when the customer never needs to interact with the salesperson.

[img689.imageshack.us image 379x214]


Agreed. Same goes for self checkout.

There is nothing lost as the last sentence states. Before I make any large purchase, I've already spent hours or even days researching the item online. I'm only there to buy my stuff. If I want interaction, I call my friends.

FTFA: "The whole company's doing it. No coupons, no sales. Everything just has a low price."

I'm ok with this, too.
 
2012-03-15 10:43:45 AM  

bhcompy: That story was pretty depressing, but sounds exactly like what happened at Circuit City


In the last few years of existence, Circuit City seated treated customers like criminals on top of all their other customer service short-falls.

In the early 90's it was a great store though.
 
2012-03-15 10:46:38 AM  
FTA: "We were shopping for a couch."

Stopped reading there.

Who in the fark still buys furniture at Penneys??
 
2012-03-15 10:51:29 AM  

TV's Vinnie: Who in the fark still buys furniture at Penneys??


If they have the lowest prices (as the article indicates), then a great many people, I'd wager.
 
2012-03-15 10:52:42 AM  
Let me tell you something about why salesmen Paul may have been less than enthusiastic. He isn't some jcpenny furniture salesmen for 20 years. Stop trying to make it sound glamorous you coont, it's retail. It's one step above flipping burgers, just because he's in a suit doesn't make him any less aware of that fact . Salesmen Paul probably had a good job, maybe even a personally fulfilling job. Do to a downturn in the economy or perhaps some other unforeseen reason he lost that job and now has to deal with people like you every.single.day.

And why wouldn't you get the couch?! You liked it, it was the cheapest around, did you really need someone to hold your hand? Is it that tough to make a decision? This is why women can't have nice things. I feel sorry for your husband, he probably dreams every night of putting a gun in is mouth.

/I think I burst a blood vessel typing that
 
2012-03-15 10:56:19 AM  

Raging Thespian: TV's Vinnie: Who in the fark still buys furniture at Penneys??

If they have the lowest prices (as the article indicates), then a great many people, I'd wager.


As long as you don't classify Ikea as furniture
 
2012-03-15 11:12:33 AM  

AiryAnne: bhcompy: That story was pretty depressing, but sounds exactly like what happened at Circuit City

In the last few years of existence, Circuit City seated treated customers like criminals on top of all their other customer service short-falls.

In the early 90's it was a great store though.


In the year or so before they collapsed I couldn't get them to treat me like anything. At multiple stores in different cities I would find what I wanted and go to the register only to wait (what felt like) five minutes for someone to come and check me out. Nobody ever came. Kind of hard for a store to succeed when they can't be bothered to take your money. I've never had that problem at Penney's though I've experienced this many a time at Macy's.

/bought $120 worth of winter clothes from Penney's in December
//and winter never came...
 
2012-03-15 11:15:22 AM  
This author has a bug up her ass.

No dispute about the price or quality, but ONE less than stellar interaction with customer service and she assumes that it's all due to the sales force not buying into the new strategy?

The ads are great, their new mailings are extremely well done, and their products are actually cool (clothing, shoes, and more) in ways they weren't 10 years ago. I think Penney's is on the right path.
 
2012-03-15 11:25:12 AM  
Are we sure this wasn't on the Consumerist?

"Waah, I'm getting a good price, but nobody is giving me a massage on the sales floor"
 
2012-03-15 11:28:58 AM  
Penneys will be fine. They provide an above average product at a good price. They don't want the scum shopping in their stores so they don't advertise to attract them. You can go into a store and not be bothered at all or you can just look the salesperson in the eyes and they will get right to you if you actually need assistance. This is how shopping should be at a moderately upscale department store. You pay a hell of a lot more at Nordstroms for not much more product/service-wise.
 
2012-03-15 11:35:06 AM  
Didn't Penney's just hire the guy the created (and was in charge of) Apple's retail division?
 
2012-03-15 11:52:05 AM  
Add my vote to the "ok with this" list. I love the hands-off approach to sales.

Haggling used to be a useful skill because salespeople were always trying to fark you over, but now it's just an excuse to be a pushy jerk ass in stores.
 
2012-03-15 12:15:07 PM  

Raging Thespian: TV's


Penney's never, EVER, has the lowest prices. Even during their sales, it was still a ripoff.
 
2012-03-15 12:24:34 PM  
I'm going with this guy had a bad day or the writer and her husband are insufferable brats.

Because when you work in retail, the worst thing in the world is to have nothing to do - because you really can't do anything else other than stand there. No Magazines, No Internet, nothing. You get bored quickly.

Salesmen working with customers accomplishes two things - first an ego boost. People are always happy/relieved/excited whenever they make a major purchase.

Second, it makes the day go by faster.
 
2012-03-15 12:49:58 PM  
Wait is she complaining that she was "forced" to conclude that it was a good couch at a good price without a man telling her as much?

That's AWESOME!
 
2012-03-15 12:56:57 PM  
I like Penneys.

I can go there and do the stupid look (I am good at that) and ask for help. The one time I really needed help was when I needed a sport coat and pants appropriate to go to a funeral. I stated to the salesman that I was lost and rather distressed. I was escorted around the store and all of the details that I NEVER would have figured out pointed out to me. Simply being asked if I had shoes other than work boots or sneakers! ((and socks and a belt>>) things that would look acceptable for the situation.

I was helped quietly and professionally. I spent a lot less than I anticipated. I have attention span problems and they were accommodating. The store was clean and quiet. I was escorted to several departments by the original guy.


They were great. I will continue to shop there.

/Rambling post
//the store is in Easton, MD 21601

///I fad folks from Penneys want to use this, go ahead.

////another time I was there after a divorce thing and simply needed to get sheets and towels and other stuff for setting up yet another new apt. They were grand.

I wish them the best with their iteration.
 
2012-03-15 01:15:09 PM  
I like the new JCPenny's pricing strategy.

You can walk in there now with just 20 bucks and walk out with a new wardrobe.
 
2012-03-15 01:25:42 PM  
Before I read that article, I did not know people like that existed. I would not had you told me. Someone who wants the pushy salesperson? They want someone to convince you to buy something? Insanity. Whenever someone pushes me to buy something they're hurting their sale. I dread walking into some stores because I know I'll barely get in before some drone comes and tries to sell me something I don't need.

If someone has to convince you to buy it, you don't need it.
 
2012-03-15 01:57:55 PM  

flanger001: Add my vote to the "ok with this" list. I love the hands-off approach to sales.

Haggling used to be a useful skill because salespeople were always trying to fark you over, but now it's just an excuse to be a pushy jerk ass in stores.


I don't know why people feel like you're being farked over during a negotiation.

Unless you don't actually receive the product you wanted to purchase, if you willingly buy it, you felt you received a good enough deal.

It doesn't matter if the same sofa was sold for $100 less to the guy right before you. You valued the sofa more than you valued the amount of money you paid for it. In a transaction there aren't winners and losers.. in the minds of both people they win.
 
2012-03-15 02:00:09 PM  
In the Amazonified world, Vizio and manufacturers like it would dominate because they hit the sweet spot of price and specs, while high quality manufacturers that cost more are laid along the wayside as consumers rush to buy based on their incorrect perceptions of their needs.

So when I'm shopping for a couch, a good salesperson should know my needs better than I do. He should know what I can afford, how long I plan on keeping the couch, how many children/dogs I have that will be trashing the couch, what color best suits my house, how important cost vs quality is to me, how often I want to clean the couch, etc. And he will find me a couch that will suit my needs perfectly, even if it means sending me off to a competitor.

No, I don't think so. A furniture salesperson is not looking out for the customer's interest; he's in it to make money. I'm not saying they're heartless and don't care about customers, but when it comes down to it, they need to make a living. If they help their customers along the way, then great. In the old days, the only thing the customer had to rely on was the advice of friends and family, newspaper ads, and salespeople. Today, in an "Amazonified" world as you put it, customers have access to a lot more information from a variety of stores and unobjective opinions from a world full of people who have no interest in making a buck off of them. They can do their own research and find a product that's best suited for them. People who know how to use the internet simply don't need "expert" furniture salespeople anymore.
 
2012-03-15 02:08:24 PM  
I work retail (not at JCP) and I'm convinced that the people in upper management who make these asnine new "policies" have never been on the salesfloor themselves, short-handed in the midst of chaos during a huge sale, trying to please five people at once.

Work MY job, execs, then make your god damned stupid ass policies.
 
2012-03-15 02:11:07 PM  
Damn, if I extrapolated an entire company's future based on the dejected nature of just one of its' employees, I'd have a freakin' novel by now. What a shiatty article.
 
2012-03-15 02:24:08 PM  
I shop there because I have a 20% discount and they send me 10$ off coupons every week.
 
2012-03-15 02:28:14 PM  

Itsluautime: In the Amazonified world, Vizio and manufacturers like it would dominate because they hit the sweet spot of price and specs, while high quality manufacturers that cost more are laid along the wayside as consumers rush to buy based on their incorrect perceptions of their needs.

So when I'm shopping for a couch, a good salesperson should know my needs better than I do. He should know what I can afford, how long I plan on keeping the couch, how many children/dogs I have that will be trashing the couch, what color best suits my house, how important cost vs quality is to me, how often I want to clean the couch, etc. And he will find me a couch that will suit my needs perfectly, even if it means sending me off to a competitor.


Well, yes he should. That is kind of his gig. When I was a bartender, I could guess what someone would order before they finished being seated. When I sold cars, I had a 90% success rate (Oh yeah- we had bets going, so it was measured) on whether they would purchase, what they would purchase, and in what color.

I like to eat well, and drink better, so it was in my best interest to constantly observe human behavior and be able to "tell" a person before i even said hello.

\I wouldn't have sent them to a competitor, though
\\I would have gotten the product from the competitor, and sold it to them at the same price
 
2012-03-15 03:07:51 PM  

What_Would_Jimi_Do: [content6.flixster.com image 360x203]

glad he moved up from stereo sales.


Leaving Satisfied

/Somebody's Baby
 
2012-03-15 03:10:52 PM  

MugzyBrown: flanger001: Add my vote to the "ok with this" list. I love the hands-off approach to sales.

Haggling used to be a useful skill because salespeople were always trying to fark you over, but now it's just an excuse to be a pushy jerk ass in stores.

I don't know why people feel like you're being farked over during a negotiation.

Unless you don't actually receive the product you wanted to purchase, if you willingly buy it, you felt you received a good enough deal.

It doesn't matter if the same sofa was sold for $100 less to the guy right before you. You valued the sofa more than you valued the amount of money you paid for it. In a transaction there aren't winners and losers.. in the minds of both people they win.


To clarify, I think my initial comment was in reply to a sentiment that wasn't really there - the article wasn't really about haggling, it was about the decline in salesmanship at that one Penney's store.

But to your post- I have worked a bunch of different jobs and a few of them were commission sales. The majority of customers wanted to just go in and out, buy their stuff and leave, no "salesman stuff" unless they specifically wanted information about an item. As a customer I agreed entirely with that philosophy, but as a salesperson I had to kind of steer everything in the direction of "I am selling this to you" even if it was what they came in there for in the first place.

The other portion of the customers were the hagglers, the people who really got into the whole sales game, and those were the ones I could not stand. Because they would want us to really sell the hell out of everything, do the salesman song and dance stuff, but then make like if we didn't drop the price on everything they would just leave regardless of how well we sold it. They would act like we were trying to fark them over, when in reality we were just trying to get them to buy it or walk. Someone in this thread previously said something about dancing for the master's entertainment and money and that is really how it felt. Dangle the carrot, you know?

People are only ever going to pay what they think is a fair price for anything ever, so I think setting the prices lower and getting rid of the salesman crap is a great move.
 
2012-03-15 03:17:10 PM  

Itsluautime: People who know how to use the internet simply don't need "expert" furniture salespeople anymore.


THIS THIS THIS THIS THIS THIS THIS THIS THIS THIS times infinity
 
2012-03-15 03:23:15 PM  
The whole article is an anecdote.
 
2012-03-15 03:25:18 PM  

buckeyebrain: texdent: Paris1127: It's an entirely different kind of shopping, altogether.

It's an entirely different kind of shopping

It's an entirely different kind of shopping



It's an entirely different kind of shopping
 
2012-03-15 03:38:43 PM  

AverageAmericanGuy: we are actually moving towards a market that rewards cheapness, lack of quality, and products made overseas by the cheapest manufacturers.


Moving towards? Sheesh, where have you been the last 15 years?
 
2012-03-15 04:44:42 PM  

bhcompy: Raging Thespian: TV's Vinnie: Who in the fark still buys furniture at Penneys??

If they have the lowest prices (as the article indicates), then a great many people, I'd wager.

As long as you don't classify Ikea as furniture within easy driving distance.


I may not have fixed that for you, but for a lot of the country that sentence has just been fixed.
 
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