Macy's Moves In On Millennials

Macy's Moves In On Millennials

Meieli Sawyer

Meieli SawyerApr 19, 20173 min read

Macy’s is 159 years old, but it is still making fresh new moves forward. The retailer has a new CEO, Jeff Gennette, with plenty of experience in refreshing and remodeling their approach. And while the company has faced tremendous pressure from inexpensive retailers like TJ Maxx and Amazon, it also attracts 90 percent of its customers purely because it buys the right brands, from Nike to Levi’s to Coach.

New CEO Gennette’s plan has already been put into motion: he is working on more deals, building up in-house brands, and bumping up the beauty offerings as well (yes, please!). With Macy’s able to attract budding design talent, and the retailer pushing to creatively assert itself, we’re in for an exciting ride.

What do we want out of stores like Macy’s? I should ask, “Are you a millennial?” I am, and I think that Macy’s newest angles are intriguing. Here’s what’s impressive: 


One Below: Macy’s has created a special millennial-targeted department, which has great brands like Mac, Benefit, and Kate Spade, plus -- be still my beating heart -- an Etsy shop. There are also food truck-type restaurants, and lots of hangout places with couches and (of course) device chargers galore. Interestingly, the restaurant-in-department-store move hearkens back to the days when Macy’s was just getting started.

Last Act: Oh, how I love discounted surprises! Macy’s has a marked-down section that’s moving clearance products faster. You may not be able to use coupons there, but it doesn’t matter much when you’re getting rock-bottom prices.

Beauty: The beauty market for millennials is booming, and even though millennials show a preference for stand-alone stores, they will certainly travel for a hot deal on beauty items. That’s why Macy’s Sephora choice is a smart one -- it’s extremely profitable.

Wellness Hubs: Fitness-themed shops are real money-makers for shops like Macy’s. In fact, the retailer has a new store format that fits perfectly into the increase in athleisure purchases. And there’s more than just clothes: there are lots of fitness accessories, like yoga gear.

Experiences: We need more than stuff, we need new places to try new things. It’s about offering the unexpected, and making sure than younger shoppers know about it. Whether that’s cooking demonstrations with locally-sourced foods or blogger receptions, we’re definitely getting more when we walk in the door at Macy’s.

Smaller Distribution Channels: Things are actually getting smaller: Macy’s is moving down the path of identifying unique offerings with “small batch” products. It adds to its new branding efforts, and it also helps the store highlight more unique pieces in a limited amount of time (because turnover increases).

I say, stroll into a Macy’s and see what they are doing. I am intrigued by their changes, and I also love flagship stores in malls: they’re easier to get to, harder to get lost in, and you can get everything in one place. And if you see stuff that you like while you browse, there are tons of promo codes just waiting for you to use online.