E-commerce Lessons from J.C. Pennys Online

JCP has a huge amount of money (1.4 billion specifically) to throw at their website. This spells bad news for smaller e-commerce store owners. Not even a webstore optimized for the top of Google can battle 1.4 billion of viral marketing and high tech distribution.

Their main site, jcp.com, did $1.5 billion in sales last year, making it the 15th largest online retailer.

Thats a lot of clothes from a 1970’s style department store. Remember when people laughed at Pennys for being an outdated retailer? Now Penny’s is laughing all the way to their online bank account.

jcp.com is the top priority of J. C. Penney. A huge percentage of their sales online come from obscure SKUs that they would not sell in their stores—extended sizes, outdated fashions etc.

The J.C. Penny product selection is far greater online than offline, and they can make tons of money selling items that are to difficult to ship to individual stores. Amazon.com claims 50% of their book revenue comes from obscure titles that no one else stocks.

A search engine optimization report for jcp.com shows huge room for improvement. Yahoo site explorer reports only 3620 links and the site has no unique title tags. The site is image heavy with little indexable text. JCP would make some SEO a ton of money for a relatively easy job – it would not be hard to double their search engine traffic.

Read more from Andy about big box retailers taking it to the web.


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