“My Macy’s” Engages Employees

A recent article in the Chicago Tribune called Macy’s gets gold star for employee morale discusses how the company’s “My Macy’s” strategy is helping to invigorate employees.

In early 2009, I gave the thumbs-up to My Macy’s strategy of localized merchandising.Here’s how Macy’s CEO Terry Lundgren recently described the My Macy’s strategy:

“…we can adjust sizing, colors, fabric weights, items, categories and brands on a store-by-store basis. At holiday time, that means we have the dexterity in our organization to sell wine country Christmas ornaments in northern California, Elvis ornaments in Tennessee, and Our Lady of Guadalupe ornaments in areas with significant Hispanic populations… It also means we can have the right sweater weights in the right climate zones. And we can be selling larger pots and pans as gifts in Utah, where families are larger, and Scandinavian baking tools in Minnesota.”

It doesn’t take a rocket-scientist to know that different markets want different products.What I didn’t recognize at the time, though, was that this localized merchandising would change the dynamics of employee engagement. And it has — for the better.

Since individual stores have more say in their merchandising, store managers and local merchandising managers have more decisions to make. This gets them to solicit more feedback from employees and spend more time “on the floor.” The ultimate dynamic is to give employees a stronger feeling of ownership and connection with the company. This is another example of the employee experience virtuous cycle.

The bottom line: Get your employees more involved in the business.

About Bruce Temkin
I am a customer experience transformist, helping large organizations improve business results by changing how they deal with customers. As part of this focus, I examine strategy, marketing, interaction design, customer service, and leadership practices. I am also a fanatical student of business, so this blog provides an outlet for sharing insights from my ongoing educational journey. Simply put, I am passionate about spotting emerging best practices and helping companies master them. And, as many people know, I love to speak about these topics in almost any forum. My “title” is Managing Partner of the Temkin Group, a customer experience research and consulting firm that helps organizations become more customer-centric. Our goal is simple: accelerate the path to delighting customers. I am also the co-founder and chair of the Customer Experience Professionals Association (CXPA.org), a non-profit organization dedicated to the success of CX professionals.

3 Responses to “My Macy’s” Engages Employees

  1. Kallen Hayes says:

    Just don’t contact Macy’s online customer service team and ask questions regarding their ‘My Macy’s’ program. A few weeks ago I asked them if I could order specialty items (like the wine country Christmas ornaments) online if I didn’t live in the region of the country where they were sold in the stores. After emailing back and forth with four different support agents over the span of three weeks, I received a partial answer to my question. (They didn’t know for sure and said I could contact a personal shopper for more help).

    I love the idea of the My Macy’s program, but I was extremely disappointed to find how poorly the program was supported by their online customer service team.

  2. Yann LOHR says:

    As usual, another very relevant post.
    Localized merchandising is often seen as a question of marketing specialists (in particular in latin countries where it still is quite unfamiliar to companies).
    What you say makes me think that it can also be an interesting way ton build a strong bond between employees and customers.
    In the same way, I have always thought that niche marketing has more to do with “pragmatism” than “expertise”.
    You say between the lines a little more : it could be a way to empower the employees “on the floor” and make them be much more commited and engaged.
    Great ideas !

  3. Ray Brown says:

    I enjoyed this post Bruce. I’m becoming more and more convinced that most customer experience initiatives will struggle if they do not include a significant element of employee engagement work. Your diagram neatly yet powerfully demonstrates the multi level nature of the impact of improved employee engagement.
    @Kallen Changing employee engagement and the systems and processes that affect it is a long term project. I think two of the important elements are 1. getting the vision clear – “what will our organisation look like when we get there”? and 2. To share your journey with employees and customers. This second point is key as it impacts on business transparency, on brand integrity (can we really tell them the truth?) and on the courage of our business leaders to be truly open.

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