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Tech-First Fitting Rooms Could Help JCP Attract New Shoppers

J.C. Penney’s new Texas concept store brings its experiential focus into the fitting rooms, too.

Marking a “comprehensive foundational and transformational” update to how JCP approaches the store experience, the Hurst location, open since November, offers a barbershop, a salon, styling services for women and new tech-enabled fitting rooms designed to elevate the customer experience.

Fitting rooms can be make or break for fashion retailers. Customers who bring clothes into a dressing room are more likely to purchase, but the try-on experience can be fraught with frustration. Shoppers who need to pull a different size or style may not be able to get ahold of an associate who can assist them—a significant driver of retail’s recent push to modernize this critical component of the conversion funnel.

At JCP’s concept store, “Styling Rooms” feature InterACT technology from Checkpoint Systems, a provider of loss prevention and merchandise availability tech for the retail sector. Customers in the smart fitting rooms can use the solution’s interactive screens to request additional colors and sizes without leaving the changing room, and also review detailed product information and recommendations, Checkpoint said.

“Checkpoint’s focus is on improving the customer experience for shoppers,” Alan Tamny, senior national account manager for Checkpoint Systems, said in a statement. “We are very excited to be partnering with J.C. Penney as they kick off their transformation.”

Styling assistants will also be on hand to offer a personal touch, according to JCP, which said early reception has been positive.

J.C. Penney opened a new concept store in November 2019 and now the retailer has detailed its interactive fitting rooms, powered by Checkpoint Systems
InterACT-equipped fitting rooms at J.C. Penney’s Hurst, Texas, concept store. Checkpoint Systems

“Delivering an engaging experience for our customers is one of our key tenets,” Diane Padgett, J.C. Penney’s director of information technology, said. “Leveraging Checkpoint technology in our Styling Rooms is one of the many ways we accomplish this on a daily basis.”

JCP has been toiling through a trying transition period, searching for a formula for success. Modernized fitting rooms that speak to shopper pain points just might infuse the chain with the kind of elevated experience that could turn things around and attract apparel shoppers. So far, the retailer announced plans to shutter “at least six stores” this year, which could portend an even larger spate of closings.

Same-store sales slid 7 percent in fiscal 2019, according to JCP, which also saw a 7.7 percent loss in total sales.