GroundBreakers of Brick-and-Mortar: A Storytelling Retail Model at Macy’s

In this blog series, each month we will highlight brands with brick-and-mortar locations that are implementing new and innovative ways to increase foot traffic to their stores. This month, we’re looking at the 160-year-old retailer, Macy’s.

What are they doing?

In April, Macy’s announced that it opened up experiential retail concept stores curated by ‘STORY’ within 36 of its stores nationwide. The news came a year after the retailer acquired the brand and made its founder Brand Experience Officer.

How does it work?

Macy’s described its new acquisition like this: “STORY is a cohesive storytelling retail model that takes the point of view of a magazine, changes like a gallery, and sells things like a store. Every four to eight weeks, the space reinvents itself—from the design of the store to the merchandise—with the goal of highlighting a new theme. STORY has a heightened focus on experience, engagement and collaboration/brand partnerships.”

Why now?

Simply put, Macy’s is hoping to reinvigorate and increase foot traffic to its physical stores. Just last year, we reported on Macy’s strategic decision to add off-price shopping in-store through its Backstage concept in our retail foot traffic report. As we shared with RetailDive and Footwear News, Macy’s bucked the downward trend for department store foot traffic in Q2 of 2018 and increased their share of store visitors thanks to its shift to off-price.

Like Backstage, Macy’s needs to continue to incentivize customers into its stores by focusing on ‘Instagramable’ shopping experiences and new products that are frequently refreshed. This strategy comes at no surprise—experiential shopping experiences are certainly becoming more favorable for shoppers. According to GroundTruth’s Value of a Visit study, 41% of shoppers say “Experiences and Entertainment” make in-store shopping better.

GroundTruth Foot Traffic Insights

Better experiences = more foot traffic

Digging into GroundTruth’s location data, foot traffic to the 36 Macy’s stores with STORY locations was

52 %

above average on the opening weekend compared to the two weeks before and after they announced the partnership on April 10th, 2019.

Top performing Macy’s stores during STORY opening weekend:

What’s next?

Only time will tell if this innovative concept will be the solution Macy’s is looking for in order to increase foot traffic and sales, but the first few weekends look promising for the iconic retailer. Using location data, brands can better monitor which of their brick-and-mortar locations are performing best in terms of foot traffic, which can be especially useful when testing new in-store initiatives.