Kudos to JCPenney for simplifying its pricing

Can new JCPenney CEO Ron Johnson turn around the fortunes of the ailing department store? He certainly hasn’t wasted any time making changes. The former head of Apple’s retail arm recently announced that Penney was radically restructuring its pricing strategy to make it simpler and less dependent on discounts:

“The customer knows the right price,” Johnson said. “To think you can fool a customer is kind of crazy.”

In the past, only 0.2 percent of sales came from full price items and Penney’s 590 unique promotions a year were confusing and failed to draw shoppers, he said.

Discounts are almost always a bad idea, as it makes it impossible for customers to discover the value of what you’re selling. And complexity in pricing inevitably frustrates customers, and sends them to your competitors. It will be interesting to see if these changes are in time to save JCPenney.

Why choices hurt profitability

Great piece from Andrew Kim at Minimally Minimal from a few months ago on how market share is a misleading metric, and not nearly as important as profitability. Tech pundits are often talking about how Android dominates the smartphone market compared to iOS. But Apple makes far more profit than any other smartphone maker. One likely reason is the bewildering array of choices that Android manufacturers offer compared to just four types of iPhone. Look at Kim’s graphic showing Samsung’s complete smartphone line compared to Apple’s. He sums it up brilliantly:

I truly feel that a simple, focused and powerful product line is what’s not only better for the company but also consumers. Seriously, if you had to buy a Samsung phone, which would you buy?

One word that will reinvent how you serve clients

Want to know what that one word is? Here are two easy ways to find out:

  1. Go grab your nearest unabridged dictionary. Turn to page one. Start going through each defined word one at a time. You’ll get to it eventually. (OK, maybe that’s not so easy.)

  2. Go to the LexThink.1 site and vote for my proposed talk, “One Word That Will Reinvent How You Serve Clients.” Just click on the handy “vote” icon (see image).


Voting ends February 24. There are 23 other proposals from a rogue’s gallery of big legal thinkers, and only the top 12 will be selected. Your vote will make a difference.

Then come to the ABA TechShow in Chicago starting March 28. The LexThink.1 program is Wednesday night at 6:30 CDT. You can sign up for free tickets here.

So what is LexThink.1? Well, it’s an evening of very short presentations with a challenging constraint: 20 slides, 18 seconds a slide (equaling six minutes exactly, or 0.1 to you lawyers who still use timesheets). The speaker has no control over the slides, which keep advancing like sands in the hourglass (or something) every 18 seconds. It forces the speakers to keep it brief and pithy, and to leave home all the boring bits. It’s inspired by Japan’s Pecha Kucha Nights, which allows a luxurious 20 seconds for each of the twenty slides. This is its third year; it was previously called “IgniteLaw.”

To see an example, here is my talk from last year: “Quantum Leap: How You Will Practice Law in 2019.”

No matter which proposals get chosen, it promises to be an amazing event. Hope to see you there. And thanks for the vote!

Want to learn more?

Get in touch with Jay today