A retail love story: Macy´s embraces ephemeral experiences as part of their value proposition
According to Coresight Research, in the US, year-to-date announced closures have exceeded the total recorded for the full year 2018. So far this year, US retailers have announced 5,994 store closures and 2,641 store openings. This compares to 5,864 closures and 3,239 openings for the full year 2018.
Even Macy´s (not Macy´s inc) is closing 8 stores in early 2019. From 2016 to 2018, Macy´s decreased its store count from 673 to 649 stores, while Bluemercury (acquired by Macy´s inc in 2015) increased its count from 101 to 163 during the same period.
Macy´s Inc Store Count 2014-2018
The American department store chain is redefining its in-store strategy with new smaller store formats and after aquiring STORY in 2018, announced its expansion plan. The Renaissance of retail is transforming the lack of excitement when visiting department stores.
In 2011, Rachel Shechtman founded STORY believing that shopping could be about more than just buying things – so she wanted to create a different type of store where for example, you could take a yoga class and discover the best water bottle from a small business in Brooklyn. STORY is using a retail approach that embraces hyper-local products and exclusivity, something that Amazon Storefronts is also leveraging.
A few months ago I visited STORY concept store in Chelsea, NYC, and included it in a list of best stores to visit in New York. The store changes its merchandise and interior design around every month like a gallery and sells sponsored curated products. It´s a store that fits with Zigmunt Bauman definition of Liquid Modernity, where change is occuring more and more rapidly. Fashion, the art of liquidity concept is inspired by this idea. In the instagram era, STORY is not only about selling products but refreshing customer experience.
STORY, the narrative-driven retail concept shop, is bringing to life an editorial approach to retail in 36 Macy’s stores nationwide (in New York, Washington, Cincinnati, Indianapolis, Chicago, Houston, Atlanta, San Francisco…). Opening with “color” as its inaugural theme, STORY at Macy’s invites customers across the country to explore and experience color through a rainbow of curated, giftable products and through a range of more than 300 fun color-inspired events (March 2019, RIS).
Opening 36 small stores is more a hobbie than a business for a company with revenues of $25 billion but also a strategical and marketing move.
How Macy´s is leveraging the acquisition and expansion of STORY?
- Subject-Matter Expert: Rachel Shechtman (founder) joined Macy´s as Brand Experience Officer.
- Collaboration: Story partners include American Express, Coty, HP or GE.
- Small businesses: Story works with small businesses targeting communities.
- Curated merchandise: Authentic products with special stories.
- Experience: runs a continuous event schedule that refresehes in-store experience.
Macy´s expects to increase in-store traffic giving customers more reasons to come back again and again thanks to those “new fresh corners or shop-in-shops” that redefine retail experience.