Apple magic is not repeatable. And even if you think by poaching senior talents from them. The same can be applied to many great companies large and small. It is too simplistic to think that stealing talent from great companies larger or small can help a company to repeat the magic.
Here is a good example when Ron Johnson, former head of Apple retail joined JC Penny as CEO, his plan was to reinvent the company. From when Johnson took the reins Nov 1, 2011, the stock price dropped in half. He received $53.3 million in compensation for 2011 and his pay package for 2012 was $1.9 million, no bonus after the company booked a $1 billion loss for the year. Yes a $1 billion loss!
Johnson's strategy to bring some Apple Store magic to JCPenney was not innovative or strategic. His strategy was to move away from price and he started by taking off any discounts and introduce a store-within-a-store design that emphasized experience over value. According to him,"Inherently, department stores have significant advantages compared to all other retailers." I don't agree with that statement with the exception in some markets such as China, Korea and Latin America.
When he took over the job of the CEO, he said that successful retailers will be "the ones that start from scratch and figure out how to create fundamentally new types of value for customers" by asking "how do we reinvent the store to enrich our customers' lives?" Good questions to start with but did they end up with the right stategy? JCPenney’s business model needs reinvention, not just the retail format or taking a page from Apple’s playbook.
It takes more than that to transform a very out-dated business model. It was a bad idea in the first place to abandon the discounting that customers had come to expect, it’s a behavior they are not going to change. Instead they should embrace the idea of “discounting” and innovate around it. JCPenny wants their customers to feel "special" about discovering these discounts. And not getting rid of it. Reinvent it! Make it fun! Make it social! I can give you 10 ideas of how to innovate around the “discounting”. The backlash against this tactic was so strong that Johnson was forced to bring back sales and discounts last quarter. That was a big mistake. Innovation needs to be strategic. Design without strategy is useless.
JCPenny needs to rethink the needs of these middle-class shoppers that are shrinking in both total size and wallet. It should move down to aim at the expanding highest of the lower income group.This is where the opportunities are.
Retail is a tough business overall and there weren't a lot of innovation happening. Those giant interactive screens, talking mannequins and RFID tags are bringing the virtual into ‘real’ retail spaces and tablet computers are turning up at pos’ from independent boutiques to multi-national chains. There are also companies working on virtual ‘touch’ for users to ‘feel’ the texture of products they want to buy. While still in development stage, the innovation would address one of the main problems of shopping online. Shopping is as much a tactile experience as a visual one.
In a creepy addition to the tech enabled retail experience, mannequins may now be watching you as you browse. Via built in cameras and facial recognition software mannequins are now able to collect data on your race, age, gender and shopping habits to assist retailers in their marketing strategies. While it’s not quite new, retailers have been using in store cameras to collect data for years, the addition of facial recognition is making it a simpler process. Big brother/sister is watching you shop!