Retailing is a dramatically different business than it was in 1858, when R.H. Macy & Co. opened as a small dry-goods store in New York City with first-day sales of $11.06. In 2021, Macy’s, Inc.—which owns department stores Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s, along with specialty store Bluemercury—earned approximately $24.5 billion in annual sales, with roughly one-third of those transactions occurring online. To foster growth in an increasingly competitive industry, the company has continued to ramp up its e-commerce capabilities, most recently with the launch of a digital marketplace that required a cross-functional effort—and a decidedly modern mindset.
The marketplace, which is in its first phase, provides customers of Macys.com with a curated assortment of 400 new brands from third-party merchants and partners in 20 product categories. Additionally, because the marketplace is integrated into Macy’s existing e-commerce site, shoppers can browse all products—whether offered by the retailer or its partners—in one seamless experience, says Matt Baer, the company’s chief digital and customer officer. Marketplace sellers own and ship their merchandise directly to customers.
The curated marketplace helps the company work toward several customer experience and enterprise growth objectives, Baer says. “The marketplace allows us to move into new and adjacent categories more quickly—without any risk from an inventory perspective—to test customer demand and continue to meet customer expectations,” he says. “It enables us to create more profitable customer relationships and to add styles and trends as they emerge.”
For example, under a traditional retail model, adding new merchandise requires a retailer to source, purchase, and manage the logistics of items—a process that can take months. With the marketplace model, however, Macy’s can add partners’ merchandise within hours, Baer says.
“We spent time talking to a lot of other retailers who had launched a marketplace before,” notes Laura Miller, Macy’s CIO. “We listened to their lessons learned so we could get ours off the ground quickly and smoothly
At Macy’s, a Digital Marketplace Is Born
The wall street Journal