Macy’s plans for the Christmas rush
Macy’s is exploring spreading holiday promotions, extending hours and playing up curbside pickup to better manage crowds this upcoming holiday season.
“Everything is on the table right now,” said Jeff Gennette, Macy’s chairman and CEO, last Wednesday on his company’s first-quarter conference call when asked how the department store retailer is planning to handle Black Friday and last-minute holiday crowds. “We’re working with our merchant and our marketing teams on options within the marketing calendar to reduce pressure points on big volume days.”
The concerns focused on Macy’s “biggest magnet” or most productive locations, he said.
One option for the retailer is to stoke demand earlier in the season. “We do think that people are going to jump on Black Friday earlier and earlier in the calendar. And so we expect it to start in full force after Halloween,” said Mr. Gennette.
Macy’s is also looking at its store hours “carefully.”
Mr. Gennette also pointed to a strong online presence and advanced omnichannel capabilities, including store fulfillment, as an advantage. He touted curbside pickup as a “big secret weapon … this holiday season.” Curbside wasn’t available for last year’s holiday. “The speed and the safety of curbside pickup we think is going to be huge for us this holiday season, if they’re not comfortable to walk into a store,” he said.
Finally, the retailer hopes advanced in-store social distancing practices will reassure holiday shoppers. “If they do come into the building, we’re going to be able to protect even the most nervous customers with crowds and their concerns about that. So that’s how we’re looking at it, but it’s still of work in progress,” he added.
A survey of 500 U.S. consumers in early June exploring holiday shopping from Voxware found:
- Fifty-one percent expect to begin holiday shopping earlier than normal this year;
- Fifty-seven percent plan to have more gifts shipped directly to recipients than last year;
- Seventy-six percent intend to purchase more than half of their gifts online;
- Sixty-two percent plan to purchase more stocking stuffers and last-minute gifts online.
- Macy’s, Inc. Reports First Quarter 2020 Results – Macy’s, Inc.
- Macy’s Inc (M) Q1 2020 Earnings Call Transcript – The Motley Fool
- Voxware Survey Finds COVID-19’s Impact on Consumer Holiday Shopping Behaviors Will Strain Distribution Operations – Voxware/Business Wire
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Do you expect shoppers to turn out for Black Friday and other busy holiday sales dates leading up to Christmas in similar numbers to the past? What strategies should retailers be exploring to drive sales while also safely managing crowds during the holiday selling period?