Macy's on Monday announced a series of exclusive gifts and services for the holidays available both online, including mobile, and in store. The services include the department store's new "fragrance bar," which allows customers to explore and choose scents in a variety of ways, and a program where they can create their own jewelry.
In an effort dubbed "Holiday Lane," seasonal toy and trim pop-ups will open in "select locations," and special toy and decor merchandise will also be a feature at more than 500 Macy's stores nationwide. They'll offer seasonal decor plus toy exclusives from F.A.O. Schwarz and "a well-rounded assortment" from toy brands like Barbie, Hot Wheels, Fisher Price, PAW Patrol and Lego, according to a company press release.
The department store is also offering tech that helps customers shop. Nationwide, 140 stores will have its new VR-enabled "See Your Space IRL" service to view how various home goods fit in their own spaces, for example. The retailer is also touting its "Style Inspo" app feature, where customers can swipe left or right after taking a brief style quiz, and faster checkout and in-store pickup via mobile.
Department stores were once go-to holiday shopping destinations, and Macy's, thanks to its Thanksgiving Day parade and its strong ties to Santa since the release of the 1934 movie "Miracle on 34th Street," has probably held on to that seasonal magic more than most.
But all department stores, including Macy's, have faced increasingly fierce competition, including at the holidays, as shoppers gravitate to discounters like mass merchants and off-price stores to buy apparel, gifts and decor. Perhaps to capture the attention of both bargain-hunters and splurgers, Macy's in its release noted the curation of gift options under $25, under $50, under $100 and "luxe," and noted that gift cards are always popular, if not even more so this year.
The company is in the midst of a new, three-way growth strategy that applies differently to what it has designated as three different types of stores — flagships including its Herald Square icon, smaller neighborhood stores and Growth "magnet" stores. The strategy is in its early stages and could end up presenting different shoppers with markedly differing Macy's experiences.
This season, which will be shorter than most, convenience could be the major differentiator, experts say, which bodes well for Macy's and its well-developed BOPIS operations. Most orders are ready within two hours for pick up in store, the company said. Earlier this month, and for a limited time, the company eliminated its same-day delivery fee in 30 of its markets.
To help shoppers come up with ideas, Macy's has partnered with the editors of "Bustle" and "Cosmopolitan" magazines in what it's calling "Macy's Gift Squad." The "squad" will present gift ideas in fashion, beauty, home, fragrance and jewelry "at every price point" on Instagram.