Macy's Rolls Out Tech-Driven Style Platform

Macy’s wants to translate its fashion credentials to next-level shopping, introducing a tech-driven platform called “Own Your Style.”

Deep into efforts to expand its omnichannel offers, the company says the new multiyear effort will combine data-driven technology with its style experts, allowing customers to curate a shopping experience based on their style preferences.

The New York-based retailer says the idea is based on the insight that while consumers know they have an innate sense of style, they wouldn’t mind a little help expressing it.

And thanks to tech brands like Stitch Fix, more people are aware that when personal taste, professional advice, and machine learning come together, it can be beautiful. Macy’s competitors, including Nordstrom and Neiman Marcus, also heavily invest in using AI for personalization efforts.



“Style is unique to the individual,” says Rich Lennox, chief brand officer, in its announcement. “We will help our customers express their style through personalized data-driven recommendations and expert advice that will differentiate us in a cluttered marketplace.”

Calling the new platform a “brand transformation,” Macy’s promises it will add value as well as boost style.

Digital and social media will drive the effort, using “branded content, sequenced storytelling, in-person expert advice and personalized data-driven recommendations.”

A team of in-house experts called the Style Crew will work on commission, upping the incentive to make suggestions that appeal to shoppers.

Online, the effort is accessed through its own hub. In stores, pavilions will highlight “Now trending” items, with digital screens for browsing.

Macy’s is also using the launch to refresh its brand identity, looking for new ways to “embody the spirit of discovery and playfulness” in keeping with the world’s new “reimagined dress code.”

“Own Your Style” follows months of ecommerce intrigue swirling around the fabled department store. In the fall, an activist investor group urged the company to spin-off its ecommerce arm, as competitor Saks has done.

Last month, Macy’s posted stronger than expected fourth-quarter results and a rosier outlook for 2022 sales. And it said, nope, it would not spin off ecommerce, despite shareholder pressure.

While observers are impressed with Macy’s improving performance and ongoing efforts to stay relevant with customers, they note that Macy’s faces plenty of struggles ahead.

“The company outlined a healthy business that is driving increased customer engagement,” writes Gabriella Carbone, an analyst who follows the retailer for Deutsche Bank, pointing out that Macy’s added an impressive 7.2 million new customers in the quarter. Almost half came from digital channels. The chain is “providing a better omnichannel experience and offering a more balanced assortment.”

But Carbone, who rates the stock as a “hold,” says that the apparel shopping spree fueled by pent-up pandemic demand is bound to slow down. And as inventory increases, that could lead to a flurry of markdowns and promotional activities that cut into profits.

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