The race for holiday shoppers is on — and Macy’s is laying out an omnichannel plan it hopes will reel in consumers.
Ahead of the all-important shopping season, the department store is touting its e-commerce mobile app, which allows customers to access points and promotions as well as make mobile payments at select stores and scan QR codes for speedy in-store pickup of online orders.
In mid-November, just ahead of the Black Friday shopping frenzy, Macy’s is launching a new store navigator feature, called Store Maps, as part of its existing app. Store Maps locates departments and key brands at local stores; it also finds escalators, restrooms and customer service counters.
Additionally, the app has a “Style Inspo” feature that shows customers product recommendations, tailored to their personal taste.
Personalization, which is becoming a critical expectation among millennial and Generation Z consumers, is also a key aspect of Macy’s holiday shopping experience, especially in store. To tap into the customization craze this holiday season, the company has rolled out new, personalized services: a Fragrance Bar that allows shoppers to test scents on interactive screens; a Create Your Own jewelry program where customers can design items through in-store tablets; and Holiday Lane pop-ups highlighting toys and Christmas decor.
After a rough stretch that peaked around 2017 with dozens of store closings and several thousand layoffs, Macy’s business has remained mostly uneven as it rolls out new concepts, such as experiential retail, thanks to its acquisition of Story, as well as expanded omnichannel offerings like “buy online pick up in store,” or BOPIS. When the department store reported Q2 results in August, its stock tumbled after both sales and profits missed market watchers’ forecasts. The company had posted adjusted earnings of 28 cents a share on profits of $86 million, in stark contrast to the 5 cents a share analysts expected. Revenues were $5.546 billion, versus the predicted $5.55 billion. Same-store sales, meanwhile, were up 0.3%, also short of consensus bets of a 0.4% gain.
With six fewer days between Thanksgiving and Christmas in 2019 than in 2018, some retailers are rolling out holiday activations and promotions earlier than last year. Walmart’s Black Friday promotions began on Oct. 25. Meanwhile, Target is planning to spend $50 million more on worker payments for the fourth quarter this year than it did in 2018.
As retailers reveal their holiday strategies, the National Retail Federation has predicted a solid rise in holiday spending for 2019. It forecasts an uptick of 3.8% to 4.2%, with overall retail sales increasing in the range of $727.9 billion to $730.7 billion.
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