Macy’s saw a 5.5 percent sales bump during the holiday quarter. This is a payoff for the company’s multiyear investment in physical renovations, integrating mobile technologies, and its “Magic Selling” program involving coaching its employees to be friendlier and to help tailor merchandise to local preferences.
This is impressive, given difficultly with Hurricane Sandy, the fiscal cliff and unseasonably warm winter weather during late 2012. J. C. Penney and Best Buy have tried to emulate this, though for Macy’s, the transformation has engaged and been guided by its employees.
Macy offers turn-by-turn GPS guidance helping customers with mobile phones to self-navigate the massive Herald Square store in New York and an integrated inventory system that lets associates find in-stock products and ship direct to customers. Macy’s investments have improved the customer experience by empowering the salesperson, where they are able to differentiate the in-store experience through their personalities and service while delivering on price, assortment, and convenience that customers get through online shopping.
Service is a key component, as the 2012 Kellogg Shopper Index reported 59 percent of shoppers said they received poor or average service that pushed them to go to competitors. There were 40 percent that reported that they never intended to buy online, but a frustrating in-store experience drove them there.
“If we keep the experience worthwhile, consumers will come back,” said Cheryl Berinato, director of consumer insights and strategy at Macy’s during the National Retail Federation’s annual show in January. “Our associates are our most powerful tool.”
Personalizing the customer experience while forging loyalty is built on having talented, trained, and motivated frontline people actively contributing ideas for how to improve operations.