Archive for November, 2016

What is Macy’s Doing?

Macy’s keeps changing direction and now has no real core vision. First, they were buying regional department stores to  become the “national” department store. They did a good job of choosing successful regional department stores. However, they then centralized policies and procedures negating those that made the regional stores successful. For example, brands of products were changed, when the previous assortment was what the local customers wanted. They changed return policies when the customers like the ones the regional stores had. Then they wondered why they were not as successful as the local stores had been.

Then when the elimination of coupons, like at JCP, was a failure and other stores, like Kohls, began offering more coupons, Macy’s changed course. Macy’s customers received a lot of coupons, even more coupons if you spent more money. However, when checking out you could only use one coupon, even when you had a fistful. Now I think you can use three at a time. How frustrated are customers when they are shopping, have been sent lots of coupons, and can not use them? Good policies do not frustrate customers.

Now that sales are still low Macy’s is going to experiment with putting off-price Backstage stores in about 45 of their current stores. So now customers can go to Macy’s and buy regular high end items and off-price items. So who is the store? What does the brand represent?

Why not figure out what policies and procedures customers want (remembering that you now need to serve Millennials and Baby Boomers). Then create a vision that allows you to grow with customers as they change while maintaining your core mission.

Right now the core Macy’s brand changes in my mind with each new tactic and that is not a good policy.

What Did We Learn About Polling?

Analytics is not just creating algorithms and running numbers. Analytics also must include thinking deeply about the formulas, what the numbers mean, and how do the numbers relate to people. At the beginning of the race many people said Donald Trump was not a serious candidate.  I disagreed with everyone and said that Donald Trump was a serious candidate because he voiced what many people were thinking.  While I disagree with him on many issues, he did tap into a very real deeply felt sentiment.

People want change – I get it. People want to be better off – I get it. People did not trust Hillary – I get it. But do those people really believe that going back to a trickle down policy, having the federal government tell them how to live, and policies supporting the 1% will really be the change that makes their lives better? Donald Trump’s rust belt strategy taped into great dissatisfaction with the status quo.  Ignoring those states in the final days of the election is like the companies who offer great deal to new customers but ignore their current customers. Now Donald Trump needs to consider his position going forward — Hillary Clinton is still ahead in the popular vote at the time I am writing this — how well will he read the sentiment of those people and include them going forward.

Going forward, those who promote polling and analytics need to include the interpretation and detective work along with creating algorithms and running numbers.