News Feature | May 1, 2015

JCPenney Developed "Shopping Companion" App For Apple Watch Users

By Megan Zielinski, contributing writer

JCPenney Apple Watch App

Recognizing that fifty percent of their 86 million customers are Apple iPhone users, leading department store, JCPenney has created an app for those they anticipate will purchase the new, high-tech Apple Watch, giving users an enhanced shopping experience at the convenience of their device.

After three months of development at the Apple’s headquarters, two JCPenney engineers have introduced the concept of the shopping app to Mike Rodgers, J.C. Penney's executive vice president for omni-channel — an app that will serve as a “shopping companion” to Apple Watch users shopping in JCPenney stores. The app is designed to provide customers with guidance to the exact item they are searching for. After browsing and bookmarking items online, the app quickly identifies and directs in-store shoppers to the product destination. With navigation capabilities, the app can find out-of-stock items at any of the four closest JCPenney stores within the user’s location, ensuring that customers never find themselves without the items they want. The app also suggests unique gift ideas within an affordable price range of $25 to $100 that customers can seamlessly save and purchase right from their Apple Watch. Through the app, customers will have the ability to track the status of their online orders. Taking customer feedback into consideration, more features will be added to the app in the months ahead.

Online retail sales are skyrocketing year by year, expected to reach $370 billion in 2017 from $231 billion in 2012. More consumers are relying on their devices to conveniently get what they want as quickly as possible. Our generation is busy. We don’t have time to waste spinning in circles, aimlessly searching aisles for items that can easily be found by the pocket-size punch of technology that we hold in our hands. More than eighty-four percent of in-store shoppers incorporate their devices to assist during a shopping trip influenced by digital, 22 percent of those customers spend as much as twenty-five percent more than they initially intended. “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,” says Rodgers. According to studies, online information boosts in-store traffic as three out of four shoppers are most likely to revisit the store again as they’ve established loyalty and trust within the retailer. Digital continues to bridge the gap between companies and consumers.