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Mobile Insights: Interview with Steve Schuller of JCPenney

Contemplating a move to mobile? You’re not alone. Last year, one study found that 98% of executives believe mobile devices will be essential or very important to sales within the next 18 months. Another recent survey revealed that almost nine in 10 (89%) companies claim to be looking at deploying at least one mobile app this year. If you’re part of this movement to mobile, you’ll want to be sure to tune into this series. Maestro is bringing you interviews with individuals who have helped develop and implement mobile strategies for their companies. They share great insight from their experiences and provide advice for you as you take the plunge.

First up in our series is Steve Schuller, DVP Talent Development for JCPenney. Read our interview with Steve below and then be sure to use the link at the end of the post to connect with him directly.

Maestro: What business challenges led you to make the move into mobile technology and how did you use mobile devices to overcome those challenges?

Steve: As a retail company, our associates are an important part of creating the customer experience that we want to be known for. So, we wanted to equip them with the tools they needed to take care of our customers.  At JCPenney, that led us to an investment in tens of thousands of mobile tools – iPads and iPod Touches with point-of-sale capabilities – that we sent to every one of our stores.  Equipping our associates with mobile technology enables them to checkout our customers on the sales floor rather than be tethered to a traditional register.  Equally important, it gives us an invaluable training and communication tool that our associates have with them while they are working. 

Our mobile devices are used for a variety of purposes, but are primarily designed as a point of sale device to take care of the customer.  When not creating a great customer experience, our associates use the device to build their selling skills, participate in online learning, learn about company initiatives and connect with other associates in similar roles.  It’s really helped to us to create a virtual community of experts who are focused on taking care of the customer.  What’s interesting is the way that they use social media tools to share best practices, learn from each other, troubleshoot and find customer solutions. 

Maestro: What is the most positive result you’ve seen as a result of implementing your mobile strategy?

Steve: The biggest impact we’ve seen since we implemented the mobile devices is the flexibility they afford us.  Sales transactions can now be completed almost anywhere in the store, creating a better shopping experience for our customer.  We’re no longer tied to one department – we can work with her as she pulls together a head-to-toe look that fits her style.  In addition, we feel more connected to our associates because they have access to “anytime, anywhere” communication and training.

Maestro: What advice would you give to companies considering creating and implementing their own mobile strategy?

Steve: We implemented our mobile strategy fairly quickly and so we learned a lot – quickly.  Here are my top 10 things to keep in mind when implementing a mobile strategy:

  1. Gain IT support
  2. Determine your device strategy
  3. Understand the role of video
  4. Understand the role of BYOD
  5. Know what you want to track in your LMS
  6. Make content interactive and engaging
  7. Make your content searchable
  8. Understand the role of user-generated content
  9. Make a role for social learning
  10. Have a compensatory time strategy

Want to connect with Steve? Find him on LinkedIn

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