JCPenney Deploys Astonishing Kiosk to a Small Portion of Its Stores

by Mercator Advisory Group 0

Kiosks are a point of innovation. As stunning hi-def touch screens proliferate, kiosks become even more flexible. JCPenney has deployed a new kiosk design called Findmore at 127 of its some 1100 stores. It ties the company’s rewards program to a customer’s credit card and purchasing history. It also provides “infinite inventory” by connecting the customer to other JCPenney stores and the company Web site.

We should see more and more kiosks in larger retail establishments. They provide reliable customer service and don’t take coffee breaks. But they are expensive. A reasonable estimate is that JCPenney has dropped well over a million dollars on this Findmore project and would be spending at least 10 times that to install these units across all of its properties. And that turns into real money.

“The sales transaction is saved to a transaction log for later processing by the Rewards system. There is a rewards process that runs each day that looks at the transaction log and pulls purchases made by rewards customers to assign the appropriate number of rewards points to the rewards customer account,” Coultas said. “The points assignment process matches the credit card used in the purchase against all credit cards in the rewards system to determine the rewards account that is assigned the points.”

Customers are allowed to associate three payment cards with their CRM profile. If the customer chooses to use any other card for payment, the system won’t make the connection.

The chain also stressed PCI compliance for other parts of the kiosk system. “The kiosk uses industry-standard credit card readers, which are tied to the same payments systems used for orders. The kiosk is PCI compliant, going through the same rigorous audits as our other IT systems,” Coultas said. “In addition, credit card numbers are not stored on the kiosk and transferred securely to payment systems in compliance with PCI.”

The Findmore launch is at 127 stores, and the chain has posted the list online. The kiosks were tested at an unspecified smaller number of stores as early as April 2009, mostly in the Home departments.

If you look at the list, you’ll see that someone in the organization really loves Texas. I know that state’s doing well but, heck, California was almost entirely ignored! Massachusetts (and I would have driven a ways to see one of these kiosks)? Fugedaboudit.

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