Macy’s on Tuesday unveiled a spring campaign, "Find the Remarkable You," including a 90-second commercial running March 11 through April 7. The company is also unveiling an "It girl" collection with flower-obsessed designer Jill Stuart.
The department store is also collaborating with fashion guru Wendy Nguyen, who runs the popular Wendy’s Look Book, and other fashion influencers for a March 14 "Instagram live share hack," which allows two people to live stream a video at the same time, according to a company press release. Nguyen and Macy’s senior vice president of fashion Cassandra Jones will match items from various influencers' closets with Macy’s spring tops, dresses and accessories in a palette of pinks, lilacs, yellows and blues in minimalist and architectural shapes with voluminous sleeves and asymmetrical details.
The spring collection is part of "Macy’s Presents The Edit," a page of dedicated fashion ideas and inspiration, the company said. The retailer is also offering a Macy’s Beauty Box for $15 a month, including five deluxe beauty samples, plus a bonus sample and $5 coupon to use in-store or on Macys.com. In-store customers can take advantage of free personal shopping service MyStylist@Macy’s, a mobile app that allows them to interact with The Edit.
Macy's may be closing stores at a rapid clip (on pace to finish up this year shuttering some 100 locations), but it's working hard to attract customers in the last bastions of department store retail, apparel and, to a lesser extent, beauty. The department store is taking to Instagram to reach younger shoppers, tapping influencers and customers alike to use the hashtag #Findremarkable.
It's an uphill climb. Beauty sales are increasingly dominated by specialty retailers like Ulta and Sephora, along with online upstarts like Birchbox. And apparel sales are a key offering from popular off-price retailers like TJX Cos. and Ross, and online, are increasingly shifting to Amazon. More than half (52%) of apparel shoppers who bought clothing online in the last six months said they shopped at Amazon, according to a survey of 1,500 U.S. shoppers from digital marketing agency CPC Strategy. Nearly half (47%) of shoppers gravitated toward retailer or brand websites.
Amazon's Prime members are fueling the e-tailer's apparel sales growth, with nearly two-thirds saying they've shopped for clothing or footwear there in the past year, according to research from retail think tank Coresight Research. Nearly half (45.9%) of all survey respondents overall said that they had shopped for apparel on Amazon in that time, and 48% said that they expect to buy apparel there in the coming 12 months. Among apparel shoppers, Amazon and Target are vying for second place (after Walmart).
Amazon's private-label ranges are the fourth most-bought clothing or footwear "brand" on Amazon.com, and one in nine Amazon apparel shoppers had bought an Amazon-label item, according to the report, which was emailed to Retail Dive. Only Nike, Under Armour and Hanes ranked higher than Amazon's private labels. One in five are interested in trying them, although a "very small proportion" say the labels are a draw.
Still, Macy's is making strides, right-sizing merchandising, offering fewer discounts and more turnover in key apparel categories, according to research from fashion data-analytics firm Edited. The average price of an apparel item is $79.20, and the rate of discounts fell 9.8% from the fourth quarter 2016 to Q4 2017, Edited found.
Macy’s replenished apparel at a higher rate than its peers, indicating a better turnaround of stock, according to the report. In the fourth quarter of 2017, Macy’s replenished 7.4% of new arrivals compared to Saks Fifth Avenue (6.1%), Lord & Taylor (5.3%), Nordstrom (4.8%) and Neiman Marcus (2.2%). Macy’s also increased plus-size apparel lines by 20.4% while discounting 7.4% less than competitors.
The company is doing best in women's categories, which appear to be benefiting from moves like the inclusive clothing line and new pop-up concept The Market, according to Edited's report. Compared to a year ago, Macy's online womenswear inventory was less than its menswear (which was up 18%) and kids (up 42%), according to Smith. "That runs counter to Amazon’s strategy, which is to cover an ever-broader range of customers and categories with little overhauled in the shopping experience," according to Edited Retail Analysis and Insights Director Katie Smith, who added that only time will tell how effective either approach will be.