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JCPenney grows mobile commerce strategy with Easter-themed SMS initiative

April 4, 2012

The JCPenney SMS message

Department store JCPenney is continuing to prove that mobile plays a critical role in its marketing efforts by running a time-sensitive SMS campaign that promotes its Easter dresses.

JCPenney recently sent out a text message to drive consumers in-store for a one-day event for children. The SMS message also included a link to let users shop Easter clothing from the company’s mobile site.

“SMS is another communication channel that helps cut through the clutter with high open rates,” said Matt McKenna, founder and president of Red Fish Media, Miami.

“In some cases, text messages have up to a 90 percent read-through rate compared to something such as email that might be 10 percent,” he said.

Mr. McKenna is not associated with JCPenney. He commented based on his expertise on the subject.

JCPenney did not respond to press inquiries.

Mobile hop
The JCPenney text message was sent to the company’s opted-in subscribers on April 1.

The beginning of the message reads, “Listen up peeps!” and encourages consumers to visit a JCPenney’s location for a one-day event to receive a free pair of bunny ears in the kid’s department.

The text message also promoted JCPenney’s line of Easter dresses with a branded link to the company’s mobile site.

When users tap on the link, they are taken to the holiday-specific landing page to view all of the company’s Easter dresses.

JCPenney’s mobile site

Users can then view the items on the mobile site and add items to their shopping basket. Additionally, consumers can find items in-store by entering their ZIP code.

By taking users to the specific page on the mobile site, consumers are more likely to shop without having to dig through content.

Additionally, the SMS message ties together JCPenney’s in-store and mobile commerce initiatives.

Opted-in users
Not only does the SMS message encourage users to shop for a specific holiday, it also gives consumers an incentive for shopping in-store.

The JCPenney SMS message is an example of how it is critical to give users as many choices as possible to help drive sales.

Although mobile commerce is being used by a large chunk of top retailers, some consumers may not be comfortable shopping via their handsets. Giving these consumers an additional way to shop in-store via a call to action is a great way to give a consumer a reason to shop.

The SMS message also helps JCPenney target its database into two different sections with tailored messages.

Macy’s, which is one of JCPenney’s biggest competitors, also recently sent out a time-sensitive SMS message to remind users to shop looks from NBC’s “Fashion Star” show (see story).

“A lot of the programs we work with send out messages based around a holiday because people are more apt to respond to promotions around a specific time,” Mr. McKenna said.

Final Take
Lauren Johnson is editorial assistant on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York 

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