ARCHIVES: This is legacy content from before Industry Dive acquired Mobile Commerce Daily in early 2017. Some information, such as publication dates, may not have migrated over. Check out our topic page for the latest mobile commerce news.

JCPenney gets social to distribute location-targeted mobile coupons

Department store chain J. C. Penney Co. Inc. is partnering with various mobile social networks to distribute a Christmas-themed promotional offer featuring badges and mobile coupons.

Consumers that visit a JCPenney store before Christmas Eve and share the location with their friends via Brightkite, Foursquare or Facebook Deals/Places will instantly receive a $10-off coupon to spend in the store or online. Each week, the retailer is giving away $25 and $100 gift cards, and one shopper will receive a $1,000 JCPenney shopping spree.

“Through the use of location-based check-in technology, we are able to connect with our customers in a new and innovative way by engaging our most loyal customers at the key moment—when they are in or near a JCPenney store,” said Kate Coultas, spokeswoman for JCPenney, Plano, TX.

“Our location-based check-in offers join an array of innovative mobile initiatives this season, including the launch of a mobile commerce site at, enhancements to our mobile apps and an exciting mobile experience via Apple’s iAd platform.”

JCPenney operates more than 1,100 department stores throughout the United States and Puerto Rico, as well as one of the largest apparel and home furnishing sites on the Internet at

Multifaceted mobile tactics
Just in time for the important holiday shopping season, JCPenney has launched new mobile initiatives, including a mobile commerce site, location-based check-in offers, enhancements to its mobile applications and a mobile experience via Apple’s iAd platform.

Building on the company’s successful mobile coupon program, these new mobile initiatives target holiday shoppers on the go.

JCPenney’s mobile initiatives include a mobile commerce site at, which features an alternate template of designed specifically for mobile phone use, letting customers to find and buy items from the retailer directly from their phone.

Usablenet created the JCPenney mobile site.

In addition to full mobile commerce capabilities, features of the JCPenney mobile site include a store locator with a “Find Near Me” button that uses a phone’s GPS to provide driving directions to nearby retail locations.

Mobile app enhancements
Using JCPenney’s free mobile applications for iPhone, iPad and Android, customers can browse the latest weekend sales circular, create a portable shopping list within the application by saving items as favorites and find the nearest store to either their current GPS location or to a ZIP code or city name.

Users can also access interactive experiences and sign-up for mobile coupons.

New features launching this season include the option for customers to make purchases directly from the application and also the ability to view their JCP Rewards account, where they can check their points and access their $10 reward coupon.

Apple’s iAd campaign
JCPenney is among the first companies to connect with consumers through Apple’s new iAd platform with an interactive mobile ad reaching millions of iPhone and iPod touch users via various applications.

The company has launched an iAd this holiday season featuring a gift hunting game, encouraging users to find a $10-off-a-$50-purchase coupon as they explore an assortment of JCPenney gifts.

Users can also text lists of gift items to themselves or friends for easy reference when Christmas shopping in store or via JCPenney’s mobile commerce site.

Users can also access a store locator tool and download the JCPenney iPhone application.

JCPenney takes Manhattan
JCPenney has also created a Christmas marketing campaign specifically for the Manhattan market.

Outdoor marketing features holiday imagery and statements such as “Jingle all the way to 33rd & 6th,” and “Bright lights, merry savings.”

All signage has a call-to-action encouraging customers to text JCPenney to receive a link to a mobile holiday site with gift ideas.

In the weeks leading up to Christmas, the back of New York’s Metro Transit Authority cards, which every subway traveler purchases, swipes and, most importantly, keeps all day long, will feature JCP NYC branding with a JCPCA$H special offer.

JCPenney’s Manhattan Mall store will also be offering branded shopping bags with the SMS call-to-action throughout the season.

“Building on our successful mobile coupon program, which we launched nationally this spring, these new mobile initiatives bring our style, quality and compelling prices directly to customers’ fingertips,” Ms. Coultas said.

Mobile coupons
JCPenney launched mobile coupons earlier this year, letting customers opt in to receive weekly coupons sent via text message to their mobile phones.

Customers show the code on their mobile phone to a JCPenney associate for in-store purchases or enter the online code when shopping on

Customers can text the keyword JOIN to the short code 527365 (JCP365) to sign-up for mobile coupons or they can sign-up via

Customers can also access current coupons anytime on their iPhone or Android phone if they have loaded the JCPenney application.

“Just to be clear, our collaboration with Brightkite is for special offers when customers check-in via their smartphone,” she said. “We have a completely separate mobile coupon program.”

Look on the Brightkite
Through the use of location based check-in technology, JCPenney is reaching out to customers in a new way by engaging customers when they are in or near a JCPenney store.

This season, when customers check-in to any of JCPenney’s more than 1,100 locations on their smartphone using Foursquare, Brightkite or Facebook Deals via Facebook Places, a $10-off-a-$50-purchase coupon will be delivered directly to their phone.

Consumers can send a group text to any of their friends and set their location to a JCPenney store or check-in at a store to receive the $10 coupon.

If consumers keep visiting the store, they can level up the badge for more chances to win.

Level 1 is a $10 coupon with the chance to win $25. Level 2 unlocks the chance to win $100. Level 3 gives consumers the chance to win $1,000.

JCPenney ads are promoting the mobile social networking applications. Clicking on them tell consumers more about the program and show them the nearest JCPenney stores.

“Brightkite users love the JCPenney program because it offers them an instant $10 coupon as they are shopping,” said Rob Lawson, cofounder and chief marketing officer of Brightkite, San Francisco. “All they need to do is tell their friends they are at JCPenney and they instantly have $10, and it works across platforms—from our smartphone applications to text messaging.

“It is great to see a retailer combining location-based targeting with seamless integration with the point of sale,” he said. “This is what mobile marketing should be all about—driving real value for everyone.”

Final Take