It’s been two years since J.C. Penney fired former CEO Ron Johnson after his failed attempt to revive its brand resulted in a near-death experience for the retailer.
Now, Johnson is back as the founder and CEO of e-commerce website Enjoy. The new company promises to let customers shop online for a variety of electronic products, and then have them hand-delivered at no extra cost by an “Enjoy Expert” who will spend up to an hour offering personalized instruction on how to use them. The tech support is free with every order from the website, or people can also pay $99 for a visit from an expert to offer instructional help with a technological product they already own.
Enjoy, which launches Wednesday in San Francisco and New York City, sells products ranging from GoPro action cameras to home entertainment products as well as tablets, drones, and motorized skateboards. The company is also partnering with brands such as AT&T (T), Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) and Sonos.
“Enjoy was founded on the simple premise that people need help and we believe that a human connection is the best way to help them,” Johnson said in a statement. “With Enjoy, we’re delivering the first personal commerce platform, offering an entirely new way for customers to buy products and for our employees, an entirely new way to work.”
Johnson told CNBC on Wednesday morning that Enjoy’s employment structure gives the so-called Enjoy Experts equity in the company, on top of salaried positions, and allows them to set their own hours. The company has already raised $30 million in funding from investors such as Andreessen Horowitz, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, and Oak Investment Partners.
In 2012, Johnson’s arrival at J.C. Penney (JCP) represented a high-profile move considering his successful earlier stints as retail chief at Apple (AAPL) — where he created the Genius Bar — and as the executive credited with revamping Target’s (TGT) image. But, after less than two years with Johnson at the helm, J.C. Penney’s share price plummeted as the company lost billions of dollars in sales and laid off roughly 20,000 people.
Fortune chronicled Johnson’s disastrous tenure with the retailer in an in-depth investigation last year.