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Macy’s sees payoff from cross-channel integration

Macy’s Inc. is piloting a program enabling in-store shoppers in Florida to place electronic orders from any point-of-sale register as it continues to try to foster integration between the company’s stores and Internet sites.

“Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s customers increasingly are multichannel customers, shopping both online and in-store,” said Terry J. Lundgren, chairman, president and CEO of Macy’s Inc., in a statement. “The interaction between the two channels is very powerful, and we continue to find that customers who shop both our stores and our sites buy more than twice as much from us compared to those who shop either channel exclusively.”

The retailer also is becoming active in social networking marketing in support of the Macy’s brand.

For Macy’s holiday marketing campaign, “Believe,” there’s a microsite, macys.com/believe, which has a downloadable letter kit for writing a letter to Santa Claus and an application that lets customers upload a photo and design their own “Claus.” The final artwork can be used as an e-card, posted to Facebook or MySpace or sent to a mobile phone.

Macy’s reports that more than 250,000 visitors to macys.com had completed the “Be Claus” process by early December.

Over the past three years, Macy’s has invested more than $300 million in capital in its direct-to-consumer business, with an emphasis on customer-focused improvements and furthering the integration between the company’s stores and Internet sites.

“Our goal is to fulfill a shopper’s need whatever it is, whenever it’s needed and wherever the customer may be,” Lundgren said, in the statement.

The investment appears to be paying off. The multichannel merchant reported that sales volume transacted on macys.com and bloomingdales.com combined rose by 22.7% in the third quarter and by 32.1% in the first nine months of fiscal 2008, ended November 1.

Online sales, combined with fulfillment of mail and telephone orders, are expected to generate approximately $950 million of direct-to-consumer sales for the multichannel merchant in 2008.

Enhancements to macys.com over the past several years have included a way for customers to post their own product reviews and read those posted by other customers. There’s also a feature that assists visitors who are visually impaired.

“Find It In Store” is a new service that allows customers interested in a particular item to check in real-time if it’s available in a local Macy’s store in any size and/or color. This service is currently available for most of the approximately 70,000 items available for purchase on macys.com and is being used about 200,000 times a day.

Recent improvements to Bloomingdales.com have included upgrading the checkout process, increasing the size and clarity of merchandise photographs, and adding editorial content such as style guides that are updated regularly.

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