Here's How JCPenney Runs A Social Media Apology Tour

Business Insider

In case you missed JCPenney's new commercial, the retailer is really, really, really sorry for its recent redesign "mistakes" and is begging customers to come back to its stores. But the apology tour isn't limited to the airwaves.

This week, JCPenney unrolled a massive social media initiative to try to win loyalists back.  And it's so dedicated to keep in constant communication with consumers to reclaim their business, that the JCPenney Twitter account even lets consumers know when its retiring for the night.

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Twitter JCPenney apology

Twitter

Under recently booted CEO Ron Johnson's leadership, the newly-minted JCP cut coupons for a younger vibe, full of mini-shops in place of the store's classic brands. These changes cost the company one third of its customers in 2012 and holiday sales dropped a whopping 32%.

After losing approximately $4.3 billion in sales, JCPenney's new strategy is to engage with consumers to make sure that never happens again. And what better media for the conversation than Twitter and Facebook?

"W hat matters with mistakes is what we learn," the Young & Rubicam-created commercial, titled "It's No Secret," says. "We learned a very simple thing: to listen to you. To hear what you need to make your life more beautiful." The spot ends begging consumers to "come back," and then flashing the hashtag #JCPListens to continue the PR campaign on the web.

On top of monitoring and responding to Twitter feedback, JCPenney also put a poll on its Facebook page to ask fans what their favorite brands at the store were, many of which got cut under Johnson.

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Facebook

St. John's Bay made JCPenney $1 billion in sales every year but was cut under Johnson.

In March, JCPenney CFO Ken Hannah noted that customers have been " screaming loud and clear that's been missing ...  the basic denim, khakis, St. John's Bay for women -- [that was a] huge, huge miss when we edited that out and didn't offer an alternative for that customer. They voted with their money and took it somewhere else, and that's something we need to address."

It was addressed by encouraging customers to vote. As the hashtag goes, #JCPListens and announced this week that it was bringing the line back.

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jcpenney twitter

Twitter

Of course, some Twitter followers are afraid that JCPenney will over-correct for its mistake.

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jcpenney twitter

Twitter

Staying in tune with the conversation, replying regularly to feedback, JCPenney has assured consumers that not all changes will disappear.

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JCPenney Twitter

Twitter

Time will tell if the digital engagement will translate to brick and mortar returns.



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