Macy's Wins with Omnichannel

12/2/2013
Technology is continuously evolving, and today it is helping Macy's in a major way. From impacting the way customers shop, to extending inventory and even creating a more personal customer experience, the Macy's magic is all about the customer. Over the past five years, the retailer has shifted its capital investments aggressively toward technology and infrastructure to support its omnichannel vision. It has also stopped breaking out its sales figures.
 
Every decision we make, we think about it starts with the customer. How does she want to shop, it may be harder for us, that's our problem. We got to deal with that. It's all about what the customer wants and chooses and that's how we have to think about.
 
"What is online? You know what is online? If the customer starts her journey on her phone, but ends up buying in our stores, is that online or is that in-store? If the customer buys the product online and returns into our store, is that online or is that in-store? And if she buys something else in our store, where does it stop and start?," said Terry Lundgren, Macy's CEO at the Morgan Stanley Global Consumer Conference. "The answer is it doesn't matter and it shouldn't matter. We should engage the customer in how ever he or she chooses to shop with us. I want to break those silos down internally in my own organization and make sure that we are doing one thing and that is putting the customer at the center of all of our decisions."
 
The ability of technology to take away some of the retailer's risk is an advantage that is being used more often with the buy online, pickup in-store. It's a small test in one part of the country, but the retailer is very pleased with its early results.
 
A big concern of the trial was if the retailer would be able to communicate with the customer about where to go to pick up the coat that she bought online and how to pick up in-store, because every store is different, it's not a cookie cutter solution.
 
Macy's hasn't been able to get several brands out to all of its stores in the past, due to the increased risk of selling fashion in its smallest locations, but now with technology, the retailer can push the inventory out to those stores – which it has done for the first time this fourth quarter – by placing the inventory online, inventory can be pulled and shipped to the customer from a nearby store to the customer who wants it.
 
This reduces a significant amount of the risk – there's markdown avoidance and Macy's would rather pay the shipping cost than pay for a markdown. "I just think that this whole omnichannel subject is just full of opportunity for us, as we continue to get better and better at servicing the customer," said Lundgren.
 
"We are in a very good position. The industry has been through certainly change and turmoil up and down, it's really about individual companies as opposed to just broad sweeping statements about the industry and our ability to execute. We have the best team in the retailing industry and it's not just one person, two people, it's the best team in the retailing industry and it's a very solid team, we're together and we make decisions together, we're constantly working. We've been together for a long period of time and this team down to a person is outstanding in what they do. And so, I really think all of these things are what's driving our business, not an industry trend or anything else," said Lundgren.
 
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