Beyond the Boardroom: Building on Beauty

This month, Macy’s unveiled the first episode of a new monthly video series with our CEO called Beyond the Boardroom with Jeff Gennette. Coast to Coast is excited to follow Jeff as he goes beyond the boardroom to talk with Associates about our North Star Strategy and how we are working together to drive our business forward.

Each month, as Jeff focuses on a specific topic, Coast to Coast will bring you a feature where we will drill into more detail from the show – this episode, we’re diving into the exciting, complex and changing world of cosmetics and beauty!

If you haven’t had a chance to watch it yet, check out the episode below where Jeff focuses on our Next Generation of Stores initiative which was captured from our Macy’s Woodbridge Center store. 

As you saw in this episode of Beyond the Boardroom, Jeff spoke with Nicole Rozakis, VPSM, and Katie Dispenziere, Cosmetics Sales Manager, at Woodbridge Center about some of the exciting changes going on in cosmetics in Woodbridge. That is just one part of this huge cross-functional effort in our organization to strengthen our beauty business. Coast to Coast sat down with Nata Dvir, SVP Planning, Beauty to learn more about these changes from a Merchandising perspective and take a deeper look.

Let’s start simple: what is the beauty reinvent?

The beauty reinvent is our vision for what we think the beauty shopping experience is and should be for our customer. For Macy’s, it’s a shift away from being a brand centric model to a customer centric model.

At Macy’s, beauty has always been focused on brands and our beauty advisors being the experts for one specific brand. But now, our customer is the expert, they are equipped with tools like YouTube to give them the knowledge they crave. So by shifting our model to be more customers centric, it will allow us to give the customer the environment and experience to discover and play across different brands. The beauty reinvent does just that by incorporating open floor plans, a curated selection, and room for our customers to discover and play. It also includes having our Associates out in front of the counters, on the floor to help our customer solve, in an interactive experience that goes beyond selling.

What is the motivation behind changing the beauty experience?

The market is growing; in fact, the beauty business is one of the fastest growing businesses in the retail industry. Reinventing the store experience is so important in this category because while online purchases are growing, brick and mortar is still 90% of the business and there is growth in stores to be had. We need to ensure our fair share of the growth, so we are looking at what our customer is craving, and creating an environment to meet her needs.

On the other hand, Macy’s is already the fragrance destination. We have a large share of the market and our customer loves the brands we carry. We are winning in fragrances and we need to make changes in cosmetics so we can win in that market, too.

Can you tell us about some of the changes we are trying out in beauty?

For the beauty reinvent, we are testing out many changes; I’ll talk about four of the big categories we are working change into.

A big change in beauty is in the presentation. We are working to create an open environment and floor plan. We are opening up the fixtures and removing barriers – exactly like what you saw at Woodbridge Center. By opening up the floor, we are encouraging the customer to play with the products, and we are allowing the Associate to be in front of the products and remove the barrier between the two of them to help our customer solve her beauty needs.

Another exciting change in beauty is training. We are introducing “The Beauty Playground”, a training program which we have partnered with our Learning & Development team at Macy’s to create. Historically in beauty, our Associates were only trained by the vendors on specific brands. Now, with The Beauty Playground, our beauty Associates will get the cross brand training and knowledge that they need. By giving our Associates the tools and knowledge to cross brand sell, we are giving them the confidence to solve our customer’s needs.

We’re also adding a variety of changes around creating experiences for our customers. One element to this is a special role that’s being created in the test stores called an “Experience Leader.” This will be a Leader on the beauty team that helps create experiences for our customers including planning beauty tutorials and classes.

And lastly, we are editing the assortment in fragrance. We want to bring more clarity to the amazing brands we carry in fragrance. We updated and elevated the visuals to create cleaner distinctions between the brands.

How many stores are testing this new beauty model?

Woodbridge Center is the first store to roll out these changes! In September, we are rolling this out to 73 stores in the South and Southwest across five districts.

Can you tell us some of the things our company is learning from stores like Woodbridge Center?

We are learning a lot. We’re learning how to merchandise the new format of beauty floor to make for more compelling curated footprints and allow for customer discovery. And above all, we are learning how to give our beauty customers the service she’s looking for to help her solve, by removing barriers and using cross-brand knowledge.

At the end of the day, in this new model, what does success in beauty look like from a customer experience perspective?

Success is when Macy’s is the authority for beauty and the customer is getting the service she expects.

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