Nearly a year after acquiring STORY, the NYC-based experiential shop, Macy’s has launched the concept in 36 stores across 15 U.S. states. Opening with “Color” as its inaugural theme, STORY at Macy’s invites customers to explore and experience color through a rainbow of curated, giftable products and through 300+ color-inspired events.
Macy’s has partnered with three major brands — MAC Cosmetics, Crayola and Levi’s Kids — and more than 70 small businesses to showcase the theme and develop a curated assortment of more than 400 products. These strategic partnerships continue to be the backbone of the STORY strategy, which Macy’s wants to leverage to give shoppers a taste of something unexpected. STORY remains under its own management, with Macy’s having no say in merchandising.
During an NRF session, STORY CEO and Macy’s Brand Experience Officer Rachel Shechtman revealed that when partnering with other businesses, the STORY team asks themselves three questions:
• Do they have authority and authenticity in the category in which they exist?
• Do they create product that could be relevant with some subset of men, women and kids, so that we’re not just being hyper-narrow in our culture?
• Do we like them?
The “Color” theme will continue through June 26, when a new theme will be rolled out.
The 36-store experiment will test how consumers react to different products and events within a Macy’s store and to see whether they are incentivized to return based on the surprise factor, but it isn’t expected to be a major sales driver for the company. However, STORY has driven retail success in the past, by enabling big brands to gather information on what works and what doesn’t on a small scale. For example, after collaborating with STORY in 2014, Target learned different ways to mix product assortments, giving the company ideas on how to build out its next-gen stores.
More than 270 dedicated STORY Managers and STORYtellers were hired to staff the stores, and they have participated in “Know + Tell,” a new experiential retail training program that immersively prepares staff to take on roles ranging from building fixtures to customer engagement and event production.
New York City’s Herald Square store serves as the flagship location, where STORY at Macy’s covers more than 7,500 square feet of continuous retail space on the main floor and mezzanine levels. On average, STORY locations take up 1,500 square feet of space within Macy’s stores.
STORY partner FLOR provides a custom pixelated patterned carpet, designed to help navigate guests across a spectrum of color and cross-category merchandise. Italian fixture company ALU designed the canvas for the constantly changing merchandise assortment.