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Macy’s exec underpins navigation, in-store scanning for holiday marketing success

November 6, 2013

Macy's updates app for holidays

NEW YORK – A Macy’s executive at the Mobile Women to Watch 2014 Summit outlined how the company plans to focus on in-store scanning via its mobile app this holiday season and beyond.

During the “Macy’s: Closing the Gap between Store, Desktop and Mobile” session, the executive discussed five mobile buzzwords and how they fit into the big box retailer’s long-term digital strategy. Macy’s most recently updated its mobile app with more scanning features designed to be used in-store.

“The scanning update that we have is meant to be used everyday – I don’t know if it was designed for holiday, we certainly timed it in time for Black Friday,” said Jennifer Kasper, group vice president of digital media and multicultural marketing at Macy’s, New York.

“We know that if we’re going to make something useful, we need to get it out there and into users’ hands before Black Friday,” she said.

“Last year we launched an app in partnership with eBay that gave us some insights into list making and planning, so when we built improvements into our app for this year, we focused on how we could take advantage of listening capabilities and to a certain degree, navigation and helping people find the things that they were looking for and built it into our everyday experience. We want our customers to have that benefit everyday, not just on Black Friday.”

Mobile Women to Watch 2014 Summit was a Mobile Marketer presentation.

Shop on mobile

The Macy’s executive outlined five buzzwords in mobile and how they play a role in Macy’s digital plan.

The first is omnichannel since consumers shop from multiple devices.

Although the in-store presentation is still important, merchandising online product is equally as important.

For example, Macy’s is testing a touchscreen shopping option within the handbag department of stores to let consumers checkout on their own.

The second word is mobility, meaning that it is important for the brand to constantly think about how consumers are engaging with content differently now than they were a few years ago.

For example, Macy’s recently launched a TV campaign that aims to drive downloads of the company’s app, and is meant to serve as a hub for shoppers that love everything about Macy’s for both online and in-store shopping.

The third word is engagement, which Macy’s defines as the combination of relevance and utility.

One example of engagement that Ms. Kasper used is Macy’s Backstage Pass that leveraged QR codes for a promotion with Bobbi Brown. Consumers were prompted to scan a mobile bar code to unlock a video that shows how to pull off a smoky eye makeup look.

Convergence is the fourth buzzword. This means that consumers are often looking at multiple screens at the same time. Tailoring specific content towards each platform is critical in not overwhelming consumers that are accessing content across multiple devices.

The final buzzword is magic, which Ms. Kasper said is unique to Macy’s and heavily plays up the entertainment value that Macy’s aims to provide shoppers via mobile.

For example, Macy’s has worked with a company called My City Way to mobilize the famous Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

When it comes to the difference between iOS and Android users, Macy’s has seen that iOS users are more engaged, but the growth in mobile users is coming from Android owners.

Although the mobile experience for both platforms is the same, Macy’s is looking at creating differentiated experiences for each platform.

Mobile analytics

According to Ms. Kasper, analytics around mobile are still a challenge for the company.

The expectation that mobile analytics are on par with its Web counterpart is not true, and there is still room for improvement.

However, the executive said that Macy’s benefits from a simple database of customer transaction data. Macy’ data is integrated into the total Macy’s profile data since 70 percent of transactions take place in-store.

This helps influence the degree that mobile is playing a role into the point-of-sale.

The challenge is understanding how mobile influences forming a purchase that happens through a POS transaction.

Despite the rise in mobile as a shopping tool for consumers, the idea that an initiative is mobile-only is a bit far off for Macy’s.

“We aren’t there yet, and in large part because our customer is not there yet,” Ms. Kasper said.

“We know that our customer is very likely to have a smartphone in her bag, she’s increasingly likely this year to have a tablet in her bag or at home on her lap,” she said.

“The odds that that’s the only way she thinks of experiencing Macy’s is relatively slim. It doesn’t mean we wouldn’t create marketing platforms that are mobile-only, but I don’t know if that’s the only way to shop at scale because I think there are too many customers and too many different journeys that might not opt-in for something like that.”

Final Take
Lauren Johnson is associate reporter on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York

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