Macy’s B8ta

Tom Dougherty, CEO – Stealing Share

18 June 2018

Macy’s B8ta partnership demonstrates head firmly in sand

I know I sound like a screaming banshee, but when are retailers going to wake the hell up? Take Macy’s, a retailer floundering so much it’s closed 100 stores in the last year. It thinks buying a minority stake in B8ta will enhance the in-store experience so much that it’ll be preferred.

B8taB8ta, a retail design company, basically sets up rotating pop-up stores where consumers try out gadgets before buying them. (Such as a digital art canvas.) B8ta also works with Lowe’s for a similar experience with smart-home products.

So, yeah. Like an Apple Store.

OK, I’m all fine and good with improving the in-store experience. But that’s not the problem with brick and mortar retailers. Their problem is that they need a completely new business model. And, most importantly, they need their brands to actually mean something so consumers will prefer them.

“I am flummoxed why retailers keep coming up with tricks like B8ta’s pop-up stores without addressing the real problem. Why are they refusing to investing in their brands?”

Macy’s B8ta pop-up stores ignore the real problem

Check out this quote from Hal Lawton, President of Macy’s.

“Macy’s is in the experience business. (The partnership) will allow us to scale The Market @ Macy’s concept faster, furthering our goal of bringing more excitement and fresh experience into our stores.”

No. You are not in the experience business. You are in the brand business. Macy’s, like many of its retailing brethren, still think of themselves as a sales organization, not a marketing one. When, in fact, all companies are marketing companies when you get down to it.

Here’s what we know about brick and mortar retailing today. Consumers go into a store (like Macy’s pop-up The Market), try gadgets out. Then buy them online, often from somewhere else.

How does the Apple Store get away with it then? Well, obviously, it only carries Apple products and Apple gets a cut on each sale on an Apple product, no matter where you buy it. (Such as Best Buy.)

But let’s take that equation out of it. People gravitate to Apple Stores because of the Apple brand. I am flummoxed why retailers keep coming up with tricks like B8ta’s pop-up stores without addressing the real problem. Why are they refusing to investing in their brands?

It’s a cliché. But this is a prime example of having your cranium firmly set in sand.

See more posts in the following related categories: retail branding

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