Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Customer Experience: Macy Tries To Bond With Customers
There are a lot of good examples of great customer experience marketing in the retail industry. Here is one of the newest I fond on the web, with Macy aiming to bond with its customers.
The "brow bar" in the newly reopened Macy's in Deerbrook Mall was a lively scene this week. . Over sounds of pop music, stylish black-clad estheticians were shaping the eyebrows of female customers seated on bar stools.
The brow bar seems to be the kind of thing that can create a bond between a customer and a store -- exactly what Macy's and other chains are trying to do at a time when the department store sector is struggling.
With the goal of tailoring all of its 800 stores to the needs of customers in their respective neighborhoods, Macy's is rolling out its "My Macy's" campaign.
The dramatically remodeled Deerbrook Macy's in Humble reflects some My Macy's initiatives, including a new cosmetics concept called Impulse and a women's shoe department that is 30 percent larger than before.
Macy's Deerbrook in Humble had its grand reopening Wednesday. The store had been shuttered almost 10 months after suffering heavy damage from Hurricane Ike. The three-level store is completely remodeled with a bright modern look.
In September, Macy's will reopen its remodeled Almeda Mall store, also ravaged by Ike. When the Almeda store reopens, Macy's will have 16 area locations.
A strategy like My Macy's is the "right idea, but it will all be in the execution," said Love Goel, chairman and CEO of GVG Capital.
Part of the My Macy's campaign will likely relate to the weather -- adjusting apparel assortments to a particular climate, said Steve Hoch, professor of marketing and director of the Baker Retailing Initiative at the Wharton School of Finance.
While department stores have been facing rough times, Goel thinks they will fare better over the next few years.
"Macy's and other surviving retailers have a tremendous opportunity in the short term," said Goel, who noted that other department store chains have either gone out of business or downsized significantly.
"If you're a 'last man standing' like a Macy's, you should benefit," he said. People still need to buy apparel and housewares, he said, although they are not spending as much.
In the long term, however, the department store sector faces major challenges as consumers spend less time at malls and more time at big box discount and specialty stores, Goel said.
The department store sector has been in decline for decades, Hoch said. For the first quarter ending May 2, same store sales at Macy's were down 9 percent.
Along with Macy's, other department stores are finding ways to localize their stores. At Dillard's, which has nine Houston area locations, "we've been tailoring our stores to the tastes and preferences of customers in a specific area, including Houston, for quite some time," said company spokeswoman Julie Bull. Such customizing includes keeping track of customers' size and color preferences at each store, she said.
The Deerbrook Macy's has a My Macy's concept in the cosmetics department called Impulse that affords the company the opportunity to bring in more up-and-coming brands, said Macy's spokeswoman Robin Reibel.
While the brow bar, which is adjacent to Impulse, predates the My Macy's initiative, it very much reflects the mission, Reibel said. The brow bar is run by Benefit, a San Francisco-based company. There is also a Benefit brow bar at a Galleria Macy's.
Macy's Deerbrook will continue to bring in more My Macy's elements, said Gary Hudgins, the company's division vice president.
In the women's apparel section, the store has already added Michael Kors, which the customers requested, and the men's department added Tommy Bahama, he said.
Macy's customer Laura Schauermann, a retired teacher, is impressed with the remodeled Deerbrook store. "It's exquisite," she said. "I love the layout with the wide aisles and color scheme."
Now, innovation seeks for customer experience, which leads to new concept stores. Here are more pictures about the new store.
at 2:46 PM