Macy’s will unveil a new store concept June 25 at the Easton Town Center in Columbus, OH.
The retailer’s Easton store will feature a slew of new efforts, including store-within-store concessions, a Bluemercury spa, revamped wedding and stylist services, and an athletic wear section with fitness "ambassadors," according to descriptions in the Columbus Post-Dispatch and the Columbus Business Journal.
The plan also includes improved lighting and interior design, as well as associate training that emphasizes customer service and familiarity with the concept’s “lifestyle” emphasis.
The department store is a century-old American retail concept, one that is continuously changing.
By the mid-20th century, the American department store was dependable for its wide range of high-quality goods and its stellar customer service. These days they're like shadows of their former selves, trying to figure out the right mix of prices, merchandising, logistics, and channels.
And that’s brings us to Macy’s Easton effort in Ohio, which is an all-out test of many of those facets.
With the new store, Macy’s is introducing many concepts that not only provide an experience to customers but may also attract shoppers that are venturing online. The retailer will include store-within-store shops in this new model, including a LensCrafters shop and Bluemercury shop that offers spa services like brow tinting, facials and waxing. Macy's also seems to be focusing more on the growing wedding market, adding a Tux Shop at Macy's and Papyrus stationary shop, as well as expanding its offerings in the jewelry and gown departments.
In many ways, this new department store model is a microcosm of the malls that those retailers now anchor—a series of specialty shops and an atmosphere designed to engage customers.
The news comes as Macy's and other department stores continue to struggle, facing decreased foot traffic and a customer that is reluctant to spend. Even Nordstrom, which is ahead of the game when it comes to store-within-store efforts and providing superior customer service, reported weak results in the most recent quarter.
Macy's says that the Easton store is just a prototype for now, but that it will keep a keen eye on customers' reactions when it opens.