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JCPenney expands Know Before You Go initiative with mobile

J. C. Penney Company Inc. launched a new application for Apple?s iPhone, putting style, quality and price right at the fingertips of consumers.

The JCPenney Weekly Deals application lets users browse a select group of store-advertised sale items that are featured in the latest weekend sales circular. Additionally, consumers can create a portable shopping list within the application by saving items as favorites.

?The launch of the new JCPenney Weekly Deals application builds on the retailer's Know Before You Go initiative, which allows consumers to have the research on the best prices, style and discounts right in the palm of their hand ? making shopping easy and efficient,? said Margot Inzetta, digital publicist at 360i, New York.

JCPenney launched its Know Before You Go initiative in November 2007 with the aim of providing customers with an easier, more engaging and integrated shopping experience.

The strategy was based on the fact that shoppers increasingly do research online prior to visiting a store.

The JCPenney site added innovative features such as enhanced search capabilities and product information, merchandise availability at local stores, and the ability to view weekly sales circulars online, making shopping at JCPenney easier.

Now with the launch of this new iPhone application, customers can check for the latest special offers and find the nearest store to either their current location or to a ZIP code/city name right from the palm of their hand.

With JCPenney customers often having too little time, too little money and two little kids, the company is really focused on adding conveniences that will enhance its customers? overall shopping experience, and ultimately, their daily lives.

The JCPenney iPhone application will evolve as new functionality becomes available.

Weekly content updates to the application will be automatic and require no action by customers.

JCPenney is no rookie when it comes to mobile.

Recently Levi Strauss & Co. and JCPenney  added mobile components to their national "Tuition" campaign to drive consumer participation.

Levi's and JCPenney teamed up with the Today Show iPhone application, which was built by Zumobi. Ads within the application encourage consumers to click to enter to win one of two $50,000 college scholarships (see story).

Additionally, earlier this summer JCPenney launched its Schooled in Style: Smart Looks for Less, multichannel campaign for the 2009 back-to-school season.

The campaign combined mobile, digital, social and traditional media such as events. The mobile aspects let teens sign-up to receive text messages on their mobile phones about back-to-school sales and special offers at JCPenney (see story).

During last year?s holiday season, JCPenney tapped mobile to help customers beat the rush at its biggest After Christmas sale ever.

The retailer's stores opened at 5:30 a.m. ? the earliest opening on the day after Christmas in company history. For the first time ever, JCPenney offered an After Christmas sale "Wake-Up" call. Customers were able to visit beginning Dec. 23 and sign-up for the "Wake-Up" call to their mobile phone. (see story).

In November 2008 the department store chain launched an integrated marketing campaign and mobile was one of the components.

The campaign highlighted JCPenney's affordable gift assortment and invited customers to celebrate in the joy of giving. Consistent with its Every Day Matters approach, JCPenney's marketing campaign communicated to customers that JCPenney understands their financial pressures and was designed to showcase the great value in shopping with the retailer (see story).

?With shoppers increasingly doing research before they step into a store, our new iPhone app is the latest way we are providing our customers an easier, more engaging and integrated shopping experience,? said Mike Boylson, chief marketing officer for JCPenney, Omaha, NE.

?Furthermore, with more than 13 million iPhone users in the U.S. ? along with 12 million iPod Touch users who can also download apps ? the launch of an iPhone app allows us to share our style, quality and affordable prices each week with a rapidly growing base of consumers,? he said.