This year, Macy’s is pushing its back-to-school effort even further into the realm of social media, with shareable efforts that target kids’ favorite media, from “Pretty Little Liars” to Radio Disney.
The store’s announcement comes as NPD Group predicts a 4% dollar increase in online BTS spending this season, as well as a 4% rise in spending at department stores.
Primarily using Facebook and Twitter, Macy’s efforts combine sweepstakes, couponing and cause-components, hoping to build on its brand promise of both value and style. Promotional pricing includes such brands as RACHEL Rachel Roy, Levi’s, Ked’s, American Rag, Teen Vogue, Material Girl, Nautica, and the North Face.
For younger kids, there’s a First Day of School Photo Sweepstakes, via Facebook, as well as Radio Disney and Disney Channel promotions, including in-store appearances of “Austin & Ally” stars Raini Rodriguez and Calum Worthy, and tie-ins with “Celebrity Take with Jake.”
And for the college crowd, there’s a microsite for dorm essentials, that lets kids create and share wish lists, as well as a text-message based sweepstakes, and special fashion offers.
But the store is aiming its biggest guns at younger teens, the 13- to-17-year-olds who typically buy the most clothing each year. It’s calling Aug. 10 Teen Vogue Back-to-School Saturday, with special markdowns. Those who spend $50 in the Mstylelab department get a free MINI emergency kit of lip balm, mints and a sewing kit, as well as a chance to win a style consultation in New York.
And the store will have a star turn make on teen favorite “Pretty Little Liars,” during the Aug. 13 and Aug. 20 episodes. Cast members will be dressed fashions from Macy’s, and viewers will have the chance to live-chat with stylist Mandi Line through the “Pretty Little Liars Facebook Fan Experience” page at facebook.com/prettylittleliars. (Teens can also buy those items at macys.com/bts.)
NPD forecasts that consumers will start their shopping later this year, but spend more, with total sales expected to rise 3% from last year. The move to online, motivated by both price and convenience, “comes at the expense of national chains and mass merchants,” writes Marshal Cohen, its chief industry analyst, in the report. “Value, price, and products that are on sale are less important to the consumers than last year but this is positive news for department stores and apparel specialty retailers too, as more consumers plan to shop there compared to last year.”