Beyond the Boardroom: Winning in Women’s Shoes

We’re taking another tour hosted by our CEO in the new video series Beyond the Boardroom with Jeff Gennette. Learn the secrets of success as we step into the Women’s Shoes department at Macy’s Herald Square. We also snagged an exclusive interview to find out more!

The new Beyond the Boardroom with Jeff Gennette video series delivers an exciting window to learn about all of the work being done in support of Macy’s North Star Strategy as our CEO interviews Associates. Last month, Coast to Coast did a deep dive into the beauty reinvent with Nata Dvir in Beyond the Boardroom: Building on Beauty. This month, the second episode of Beyond the Boardroom spotlighted the secrets of success in Women’s Shoes.

In this episode, Jeff spoke with Brian Hoke, GVP/DMM of Women’s Shoes, and Associates in Women’s Shoes at Herald Square about the recent changes the team is making to enhance the customer experience. We learned that changes such as editing assortment, using technology, and building a culture of teamwork are driving the success of Women’s Shoes.

In the video episode, you heard just one side of the multi-faceted shoe business. Coast to Coast sat down with Brenna Garrett, Group Vice President/Divisional Planning Manager, Women’s Shoes, to learn even more about these changes from a Planning perspective, and why it’s working!

What are we doing differently in Women’s Shoes to see the improvement in results?

We heard from our customers that the major pain point was walking into a store and not finding the shoe she loved in her size. Our mantra in Women’s Shoes is that we strive to be in stock, in size, in our best styles, in every store, every single day. To achieve this, we focused on editing our assortment and eliminating duplication to ensure there will be enough sizes in stock for our best styles. Here is a real example. At one point, we had around 10 black pumps, and we were doing them all in limited size runs. Now we take the three best black pump styles, put significant depth of sizes behind each style and push it to all doors.

Seems simple but we’ve seen a big sales lift by having the shoe she wants in stock in her size. And as we’ve refocused back on the core assortment and drive depth, some of our best styles have become even stronger.

From a Planning perspective, what changes have been made that impact the customer experience?

Keeping the shoe she wants in her size at all times has been key. But, we also have really focused on understanding the demand based on the climate. We have a Climate Flow team that helps us determine just that. As Planners, we need to understand what shoe our customer wants in warm and tropical climates, and what shoe she wants in colder weather to make sure our customer always finds what she’s looking for year-round.

How has technology changed the way you plan and make shoes available for our customers?

As part of our shoe pilot, we layered in technology to about 200 stores that didn’t have it. We have handheld devices that tell our Associates if we have a shoe in stock and size availability without ever leaving the customer on the selling floor. This instantly speeds up the interaction between the Associate and the customer. As Brian Hoke discussed in the video, this drastically cuts the time it takes to get the shoe from the stockroom to the customer. This same technology also allows the Associate to see the available omni-channel inventory and locate it in another store or at warehouses. So, from a Planning perspective, we can use this data to see what Associates are searching for online, which helps our teams plan for demand even more accurately.

How do you ensure that we have what the customer wants, when she wants it, wherever and however she is shopping?

A significant amount of our Women’s Shoes business is online so an omni-channel experience is very important and crucial to the success of our business. As much as we focus on having sizes stocked in stores, we also focus on having enough sizes stocked online. can sell thousands of units of a shoe, and we have to make sure we put enough units in the warehouses to fulfill omni-availability.

What’s next for Women’s Shoes?

We have two exciting launches in stores for fall 2017; UGG and DKNY.

We introduced UGG in limited Macy’s locations last fall, and launched it online on in January. This fall, UGG will expand and sell in 200 stores! UGG brings authenticity to our shoe assortment for our customers, which is right in line with our strategy.

DKNY also launches this month in 200 Macy’s stores and online. This is a Macy’s exclusive brand that we’re extremely excited about as we think about our modern customer and growth for Women’s Shoes.