I’ve often referred to Terry Lundgren as the Marlboro Man of retail. From his good looks to his engaging personality and incredible track record in our industry, this guy has it all. The standing-room-only crowd who woke up early this morning (remember, 8:30 a.m. is early in Vegas) to hear Lundgren speak at the Shop.org Summit about how Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s are integrating stores and e-commerce was an indicator that others in the industry were intrigued to hear his perspective as well.
Lundgren opened his keynote by walking through the history of Macy’s. The company began when there was no electricity, let alone Internet, he said, and has grown over the last 151 years to include 810 Macy’s stores, 40 Bloomingdale’s, and a vibrant online presence. That background helped set the stage for insights on what Lundgren referred to as “Macy’s 3.0,” which brings stores and the web together to create a dynamic shopping experience.
One of the biggest takeaways from Lundgren’s keynote was his insight on how the web drives store sales. Web business is expected to surpass $1 billion this year for the first time, he said, but the Internet is as much of a marketing channel as a sales tool. (That said, as a sales channel, the web is a bright spot: as of the end of August, online sales were up 13% this year, he said.)
In fact, Macy’s believes that $5 billion in store sales is influenced by its website, he said, demonstrating that “the power of e-commerce extends far beyond the keyboard and right onto the sales floor.” In addition to buying merchandise, customers can use Macys.com to locate store information and hours, pay a bill, and access the company’s catalogs.
As further proof of his confidence in the web’s ability to drive sales, Lundgren said the company has invested more than $300 million into its website on everything from new distribution centers to technology and personnel. He talked at length about the company’s “Find it In-Store” feature as well as a new “Search and Send” functionality where store employees can locate products for customers and have them shipped for free.
With much of the buzz at this conference about social media, Lundgren illustrated how the company was jumping in with both feet onto Twitter and Facebook. “I don’t think I need to preach to this group about the power and relevancy of social media,” he said, highlighting that the company gained more than 75,000 fans after launching a Facebook page just 60 days ago.
Lundgren also hinted at a foray into mobile, saying the company was planning to launch a robust Macy’s iPhone app later this year and said it would be “one of the most advanced iPhone apps of any retailer.”
As evidence of how Macy’s is using the web as a marketing tool, Lundgren elaborated on three recent company campaigns where the web played an integral role:
- Macy’s Make Over America, a partnership with Clinton Kelly of “What Not to Wear,” chose 15 women in 15 cities for a make-over. More than 30,000 women registered for a make-over, and the company published webisodes of make-overs, a blog about style, and streamed video of its style shows live from each city.
- While 5.5 million people watched the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade on the streets of New York last year on Thanksgiving Day, more than 50 million watched on TV. In addition, Lundgren said, 800,000 people have visited the parade’s website, which offered parade information, games, and a site for parade viewers to upload their own photos from the event.
- Macy’s Come Together initiative, aimed at alleviating hunger in America, uses a vibrant website where people can find out more information about the campaign, plus create invitations for their own dinner parties and view sample menus (thanks to Martha Stewart). The website also features some of Macy’s advertisements about the initiative, which features celebrities like Jessica Simpson, Mariah Carey, Usher, Donald Trump and Queen Latifah.
Tweets about his keynote during and after the session suggest that attendees were captivated by his insights on everything from why he doesn’t tweet (no time) to his philosophy on product reviews (“”If you get bad reviews on a product, guess what? The product is bad! Get rid of it.”).
After his remarks, NRF President and CEO Tracy Mullin spent about a half-hour asking Lundgren questions ranging from whether consumers have fundamentally changed to his thoughts on if department stores are dying. Read more from the Q&A.