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With Macy’s buying retail disruptor Story, experiential retail is still key

Macy's

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As traditional retailers continue to seek new ways to engage with consumers and do so by interacting with disruptor businesses, Macy’s announced on Wednesday that it has acquired the New York City concept store Story.

What’s more, Story’s founder and CEO Rachel Shechtman has come on as Macy’s new brand experience officer, reporting directly to the department store chain’s president Hal Lawton.

In that new role, she will “focus on ways to enhance the in-store customer experience with the Macy’s brand, and Story will have the opportunity to come to life in a new format”.

What makes Story so desirable for Macy’s and qualifies Shechtman for such a key role?

It’s Story’s concept store nature that makes it so attractive and, while there are plenty of such stores in key shopping cities, Macy’s sees this one as particularly important.

Story is “a cohesive storytelling retail model that takes the point of view of a magazine, changes like a gallery, and sells things like a store,” it said. What this means in practice is that every four to eight weeks, the space “reinvents itself” – from the design of the store to the merchandise – with the goal of highlighting a new theme. Given that it has a heightened focus on “experience, engagement and collaboration/brand partnerships,” it’s a clear pointer in miniature as to what traditional retailers need to do as they reinvent themselves for modern shoppers.

“Rachel is a unique and innovative voice in retail, and we are thrilled to have the Story team join the Macy’s family,” said Macy’s CEO Jeff Gennette. “Bringing Rachel’s perspective to the table will help create more enriched and engaging in-store experiences and brand activations. We are committed to growth in 2018, and this is one important step along the way.”

Shechtman added: “It’s exciting to have a national stage to leverage Story’s learnings and relationships to create impact at scale. I’m energised by the opportunity to further build new customer experiences across the Macy’s portfolio, while also continuing to pursue new business models and brand partnerships.”

Story will operate as usual, continuing to rotate new themes at its Chelsea location in New York City while Shechtman assumes her role at Macy’s. In addition, Story’s COO, Jenny Shechtman, will assume the role of VP, operations at the business under Macy’s ownership.

 

Experiential retail isn’t going anywhere. Get all the latest in WGSN Insight’s report Interactive Play: Experiential Retail Strategies.

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