Omnichannel role model: magical Macy’s

macys-originalRowland Hussey Macy would be proud to know that the dry goods store he started in 1843 is a clear leader for omnichannel retailing today. It was announced this week that Internet sales for the quarter were up a formidable 48%. Macy’s attributes much of this to a multi-year omnichannel plan that they put into place starting in 2009. Two key components of the plan were the ability and incentives for sales staff to fulfill needs regardless of channel and RFID tagging of items in store.

Macy’s has one of the simplest yet most effective ways to describe its approach to customer service. “Magic selling” is all about engaging, listening and then servicing as is best fit for the customer.

Go ahead and Google it. The first result is a link to what is presumably a Macy’s HR site that lists the attributes, behavior and demeanor of a Macy’s employee.

  1. Meet and Make a Connection - Seek out customers and tailor your greeting accordingly
  2. Ask questions and Listen - Assess the custom
    er’s needs by asking questions to understand
  3. Give Options, Give Advice - Give the customers appropriate advice an drecommendations based on their need
  4. Inspire to Buy and Sell More - Finalize or close the purchase by summarizing the conversations and add on as appropriate
  5. Celebrate the Purchase - Creating a positive and lasting impression of Macy’s and the purchase with your customer

MacysIts hard not to imagine how giving associates access to more information about product via RFID tagging and cross channel interests fits perfectly into MAGIC Selling. And ultimately we could even envision Macy’s associates carrying in-store devices that allow them to connect with their customers’ wants and interests with a simple tap (hint: we here at know a thing or two about that)…

In a recent survey from Green Park of retail executives regarding their omnichannel strategy, a whopping 71.4% said that they have no store incentive program in place for cross channel sales. In other words, if an item is not in stock in Joe’s department, Joe knows he won’t get paid for the cross-sell, so why would he want to go the extra mile for a customer?

Sometimes the simplest things can have the biggest impact. I’m curious to see what the final year of their four year plan will hold. I remain hopeful that increased access to technology in stores will give more opportunities for innovations.