Macy's Shopping Experience Report
Millennials have surpassed Baby Boomers as the country’s largest living generation. In order to tap into this segmentation, both domestic and global companies hope to figure out the preference and shopping style of millennials, often to no prevail. Our report focuses on the millennial perception of Macy’s, the nation’s largest department store, and attempts to explore what influences millennials’ shopping decisions and spending. The researcher first identified the potential problems that millennials have with Macy’s through interviews, such as Macy’s not containing clothing that are of “millennial style” or that Macy’s is “old-fashioned”. By using exploratory research to generate our survey, The researcher was able to collect a sample of millennials (N = 68) and collected nominal data such as adjectives for Macy’s and their favorite clothing stores, as well as ordinal and interval data for the generation of meaningful statistical tests. The researcher found several significant results, such as millennials see the variety of brands, quality of products, and promotions more important than other attributes. They also shop more frequently at department stores, chain stores, and online stores. Customer reviews and social media/bloggers have a large impact on millennials’ shopping decisions and items that millennials purchase in Macy’s. Our analysis also concluded Asian and Western millennials significantly differ in their satisfaction level of Macy’s shopping attributes and the impact of social media has more influence on Asian millennials. Based on the results The researcher generated, Macy’s can better attract the millennial generation by creating student reward cards, improve customer service to retain customers, and partner up with Asian designers to better penetrate the market of Asian millennials currently in the United States.
In 2015, Macy’s experienced its fifth straight decline in sales, which resulted in the closing of 41 stores across the country. Macy’s admitted that first, second, and third quarters of 2016 sales were decreasing by 7.40 percent, 3.90 percent, 4.22 percent respectively compared to sales of the same quarter of last year. Macy’s blamed “the uncertain direction of consumer spending.” The massive, continuous discounting makes shopping at the department store unexciting. The constant promotion of apparel in department stores reflects the fact that most merchandises are overpriced and have to be on sale to be attractive. In many locations, the stores are poorly merchandised, hard to shop, and average customer service. Moreover, Millennials do not shop at Macy’s anymore due to the surge of fast fashion like Zara, H&M, and Forever 21. The downward price pressure and aggressive expansion from these fast-fashion retailers raise a challenge for department stores.
Millennials are reshaping the fashion industry through their shopping habits. As the youngest members of this 19- to 36-year-old group begin to be financially independent, Millennials make up the largest segment and the most potential purchasing power in the fashion industry. Recent research by the Boston Consulting Group found that 50 percent of the Millennials believe brands “say something about who I am, my values, and where I fit in.” Although high quality is important to Millennials, individuality weights more. Thus, it is essential for retailers to successfully align the brands’ missions and values with Millennials’ unconventional consuming rules. Fashion has always been social. However, the definition of what The researcher describes as “social,” by which a few friends meet up for a day of shopping, has expanded. Social media has become a viral platform that Millennials rely on to get opinions when it comes to choosing their outfits. They check fashion blogs, search through photos on Pinterest and Instagram before purchasing. Nowadays, traditional brick-and-mortar retailers like Macy’s, Nordstroms, and JCPenny are challenged by entities such as online retail giants and trendy fast-fashion startups. Young millennials are less likely to shop at traditional department stores because they do not find the shopping experience there “fun” and “exciting.”
In this project, The researcher holds to understand Millennials as the most critical segments Macy’s need to have sustainable growth in the coming years. The researcher was particularly interested in their general shopping behaviors/preferences and attitudes toward Macy’s. Not only they are “forming a strong brand and retail-format preferences” but also “have an intentional influence on the behaviors and brand choices of their family and friends, and even strangers” (Barton, Millennial Passions: Food, Fashion, and Friends). Macy’s is known for its high-quality products and a large variety of brands with multiple traditional brick-and-mortar stores throughout the U.S. Nevertheless, in recent years, online shopping and fast-fashion retailers have taken a large slice of the market share of department stores like Macy’s, which trigger us to find out why these new platforms are more appealing to young Millennials.
What do young Millennials think about Macy’s? How successfully does Macy’s engage young customers with the brand’s promotions and campaigns? Is it because the styles of the products do not match young customers’ preferences? What influence them in making a purchase decision? What role does individuality play in decision making? Is online shopping more convenient? That there are trendy music and decor in Urban Outfitters and other fast fashion stores? The researcher hoped to find answers to these questions to understand Millennials’ shopping habits as well as to address the problems that Macy’s and many other department stores are encountering. With our findings, the researcher will make some recommendations to help Macy’s identify its valued customers and become more attractive to younger generations.
Our study was carried out in forms of interview and Survey. Our interview was designed to explore the general shopping pattern and shopping experience of Macy’s customers. Based on the results of the interview, The researcher then developed a full detailed survey to study Macy’s shopping experience further.
The purpose of our interviews was to have a general idea of consumers’ shopping preference and their impression on Macy’s and to provide a guideline for our following survey. A few examples of interview questions are “How often do you shop for yourself?”, “how much do you spend each time you shop?”, “What are the most important features of a shopping experience to you?”, “What do you like about Macy’s?”, “What do you hate about Macy’s?” and “Give an example of your shopping experience at Macy’s.” The researcher chose to use convenience sampling for our interview session. Each of the four members in our group conducted a thirty-minute long interview with two friends.
Our survey mainly consists of four sections: screening questions asking participant’s age and frequency of shopping at Macy’s, questions asking participant’s general shopping patterns, questions asking participant’s shopping experience at Macy’s, and questions asking participant’s background and preference. The survey was made using Qualtrics and data were analyzed using SPSS. Nominal, ordinal, and interval scales are the most frequently used measurement scales in our survey.
The researcher chose to use self-selected sampling for our survey since the survey was sent out via Facebook, WeChat, and Brandeis email, and the data are composed of those who responded. The researcher did highly encourage our friends to fill out the survey. However, there was no compensation in any form provided to respondents and participation was voluntary. The researcher expected most of our respondents to be millennials since our social media accounts had more friends at a similar age as us.
There were 110 people in total participating in our survey. Among the 110 participants, 68 of them finished the survey while 42 of them did not. Therefore, the researcher got 68 valid data. 32.4% of them define themselves as “Male,” 64.7% of them define themselves as “Female,” and 2.9% of them define themselves as “Other” (See Table 1). We chose to only include males and females for the convenience of our analysis. 89.7% of participants fall under the 18-24 age range; 8.8% of them fall under the 25-30 age range; 1% of them fall under age range more significant than 30 (See Table 2). Also, 10.3% of participants are White, 4.4% are Black or African American, 83.8% are Asian/Pacific Islander, and 1.5% are other (See Table 3).
Through this survey, The researcher wanted to find out what people’s general shopping pattern is, how satisfied people are with Macy’s, how much Macy’s performance deviated from the customer expectation and what the potential factors are affecting people’s shopping experience at Macy’s.
General Shopping Patterns
Comparison of the enjoyment level of shopping at different types of stores
The researcher used a matched pairs t-test to find out where respondents generally prefer to shop at (Q7). The researcher asked our respondents to rate how frequently they shop at department stores (M=6.54), chain stores (M=6.57), boutiques (M=6.53), budget stores (M=6.88), second-hand stores (M=7.19) and shopping online (M=7.37) (See Table 4). The researcher compared one place with another, and The researcher found nine pairs significantly different from another on respondents’ enjoyment level.
Pair 2: Department Store - Boutique: There is a significant difference in the enjoyment level between shopping at department stores and boutique stores, t(67)=5.222, p=.001 (See Table 5). Respondents prefer to shop at department stores more than boutiques.
Pair 3: Department Store - Budget: There is a significant difference in the enjoyment level between shopping at department stores and budget stores, t(67)=7.384, p=.001(See Table 5). Respondents prefer to shop at department stores more than budget stores.
Pair 4: Department Store - Secondhand: There is a significant difference in the enjoyment level between shopping at department stores and secondhand stores, t(67)=7.997, p=.001(See Table 5). Respondents prefer to shop at department stores more than second-hand stores.
Pair 6: Chain Store - Boutique: There is a significant difference in the enjoyment level between shopping at chain stores and boutiques. t(67)=5.189, p=.001(See Table 5). Respondents prefer to shop at chain stores more than boutiques.
Pair 7: Chain Store - Budget: There is a significant difference in the enjoyment level between shopping at chain stores and boutiques. t(67)=7.574, p=.001(See Table 5). Respondents prefer to shop at chain stores more than budget stores.
Pair 8: Chain Store - Secondhand: There is a significant difference in the enjoyment level between shopping at chain stores and second-hand stores. t(67)=8.959, p=.001(See Table 5). Respondents prefer to shop at chain stores more than second-hand stores
Pair 12: Boutique - Online: There is a significant difference in the enjoyment level between shopping at boutiques and online stores. t(67)=-6.305, p=.001(See Table 5). Respondents prefer to shop online more than at boutiques.
Pair 14: Budget - Online: There is a significant difference in the enjoyment level between shopping at boutique and online. t(67)=-8.159, p=.001(See Table 5). Respondents prefer to shop online more than at budget stores.
Pair 15: Secondhand - Online: There is a significant difference in the enjoyment level between shopping at secondhand stores and online. t(67)=-8.961, p=.001(See Table 5). Respondents prefer to shop online more than at secondhand stores.
Overall, respondents prefer to shop at department stores, chain stores, and online the most.
Comparison of the level of importance between different attributes of a shopping experience
The researcher wanted to find the attributes that were the most important of a shopping experience to our respondents (Q9). The attributes included the variety of brands (M=6.24), customer service (M=6.5), store arrangement (M=6.15), accessibility of location (M=7.1), promotions (M=6.97), and store hours (M=5.44) (See Table 6). However, as the researcher collected our data, six responses were missing from variable “store hours.” Thus, the researcher decided to exclude “store hours” to make the test more accurate and consistent. The researcher used a matched pairs t-test for a table of rating scores (an interval variable) and compared means of different attributes. There were five pairs of attributes that The researcher found significant differences in the importance level to the respondents.
Pair 1: Variety of Brands - Accessibility of Location: There is a significant difference in the importance level between the variety of brands and accessibility of location, t(67)=-3.045, p=.003 (See Table 7). Respondents value accessibility of location more than the variety of brands.
Pair 4: Variety of Brands - Promotions: There is a significant difference in the importance level between the variety of brands and promotions, t(67)=-2.062, p=.043 (See Table 7). Respondents value promotions more than the variety of brands.
Pair 8: Store Arrangement - Accessibility of Location: There is a significant difference in the importance level between store arrangement and accessibility of location, t(67)= -4.745, p=.001 (See Table 7). Respondents value accessibility of location more than store arrangement.
Pair 9: Store Arrangement - Promotions: There is a significant difference in the importance level between store arrangement and promotions, t(67)=-2.794, p=.007 (See Table 7). Respondents value promotions more than store arrangement.
Based on the result, respondents value accessibility of location and promotions more than the variety of brands and store arrangement.
Comparison of the influence of social media platforms on making a purchase decision
The researcher asked respondents to rate the influence level of different factors on making a purch