JCPenney launched a completely reimagined format store just outside of Dallas in Hurst, Texas, representing the company’s strategy “to put the customer at the center of its business.” The company stated the “experiential store” is built around customer data and insights and showcases the JCPenney’s corporate mission to redefine itself in the wake of a difficult retail market.
Of interest to the photo category is a reference to the “Shutterfly Picture Pop Selfie Studio,” a clear evolution of the JCPenney Portrait Studio business. Details were not given on the offerings from the reimagined studio.
It is interesting the portrait offering is moving away from the “JCPenney Portrait Studio by Lifetouch” branding to vendor-specific branding. This may be more in line with JCPenney’s overall strategy, however, as the new store is filled with experiential shopping experiences like “The Barbery,” “Pearl Cup Grab + Go,” “Style + Substance” and so on. At this point, “Shutterfly Picture Pop Selfie Studio” sounds a bit more contemporary than the mundane JCPenney Portrait Studio. It also isn’t stated what services will be offered, but it may be inferred from the name there will be self-directed photo opportunities, possibly to offset the slow non-portrait times of year.
It will be interesting to see Shutterfly’s foray into branded retail. As we mentioned when Shutterfly first acquired Lifetouch, “Shutterfly has little-to-no experience managing a consumer business that is not web-based. Lifetouch operates school portrait business, which is a one-to-one relationship business, as well as JCPenney photo studios, which are retail. As we have mentioned in the past, Shutterfly has not taken its prominent brand name direct to retail in any meaningful way.”