National Macy’s Tries Local Approach
By Tom Ryan
After spending years closing down and changing over scores of regional banners to create the country’s first national department store chain, Macy’s Inc. is making a renewed push to reach customers at a more regional level. Represented by the ad campaign, “My Macy’s,” the initiative is designed to increase sales by adapting merchandise and marketing based on area preferences.
“We want to be locally relevant,” Macy’s CMO Peter Sachse told Advertising Age.
Shifts in merchandise will be evident beginning in the second half of this year. From a marketing perspective, the program will ensure that advertising closely reflects local trends. For example, coats will be marketed more heavily in Minneapolis than they would be in Miami. The initiative is also intended to emphasize grassroots efforts to bond with communities. For instance, when the high school prom is approaching, Macy’s could run a prom ad, Mr. Sachse told Advertising Age. If a local cheerleading squad wins a competition, Macy’s could run an ad congratulating them.
The initiative comes as Macy’s is closing many regional offices. Seven regional headquarters are being consolidated into four, and Macy’s is setting up smaller regional offices in Chicago, Cincinnati, St. Louis and Seattle charged with tailoring stores to local tastes as part of the “My Macy’s” effort.
The program also comes as Macy’s continues to battle criticism from customers of the former May Co. stores, particularly Marshall Field’s, that it doesn’t understand their needs.
Discussion Questions: In becoming a national retailer, what challenges does Macy’s face in appealing to customers at a local level through merchandising and marketing? Which national retailers do a good job reaching consumers at the local level? What can Macy’s learn from them?