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Macy’s Is Betting on Online Shopping and Reimagining Their Brick and Mortar Stores.

Adrian Mitchel was formerly CEO of home furnishings retailer Arhaus, chief operating officer and CFO at Crate & Barrel, and strategy and interactive design director at Target. He's leading the transformation of Macy's online and store operations to a more modern consumer and neighborhood focused model. Since joining Macy’s Inc. as chief financial officer in the midst of the pandemic, Mitchell has helped the company bolster its finances and update its business for a changed retail landscape.

In the e-commerce age, some have wondered about the future of retailers with big brick-and-mortar footprints such as Macy’s. Why continue to invest heavily in both digital and physical retail?

We’re fundamentally reimagining this business end to end, but at the core is the customer and how his or her expectations are evolving. And our most profitable, most engaged, happiest customers shop multiple channels. When we went into 2021, our thesis was that digital will continue to remain strong and stores would probably have a real tough time. What we saw is stores really rebounded and digital didn’t miss a beat.

You’re changing your physical stores.

We’re incredibly excited about the new store growth potential that we see in off-mall [stores]. A 30,000- to 50,000-square-foot Macy’s—one that’s in neighborhoods and power centers closer to where the customer lives, where the soccer game is, where work may be, where the grocery store is located—is the next evolution in our physical footprint.

Is the physical shopping experience changing as well?

Ten years ago a lot of the in-store experience was about browsing. Today I may go to the store with a specific purpose of picking up what I’ve already purchased at a service [counter] or curbside. Or when I go to the store, I’ve already done my research on the phone. I know what department I’m going to, what items I’m looking for. It’s much more purposeful than it’s ever been, and that will continue.

Why is the phone so important for a brick-and-mortar retailer?

We recognize that the consumer is always with their phone. Whether it’s doing price checks, shopping for availability of items, doing pickup, seeing what’s available in his local store, that’s a big part of the experience. And so, as we think about simplicity of experience, convenience, seamless, we recognize that every store experience has to be connected digitally and the most efficient way to do that is through the mobile app. And so it’s a big part of our engagement.

Why are you starting an online marketplace later this year?

When we look at our search results, there are things that we simply don’t carry or carry in enough depth that customers were searching for on our or websites. The digital marketplace gives us the ability to carry a complete experience with many more items available to the customer without necessarily carrying the physical inventory. It allows us to enter into categories we’ve not been in. It allows us to be deeper in categories where we’re much leaner.


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