Macy’s chief merchandising officer, Nata Dvir, is leading the company’s private-brand evolution.
The department store is rethinking its portfolio of private label brands across all product categories, including men’s, women’s, kids and home. That includes adding, refreshing and editing brands through a new customer-centric strategy.
In August, Macy’s launched the private-label womenswear brand On 34th, which was informed by extensive research on its customer. The brand, which targets customers ages 30-50, centers on ready-to-wear items and accessories that were made to create thousands of outfit combinations.
“It was informed by over 100,000 online surveys that we did,” said Dvir. “We collected a lot of intelligence around what our customers were looking for. We also did 35 days of digital community engagement, where we viewed customer videos about what they’re looking for, what’s missing from their wardrobe and what role we could play. And we did hundreds of hours of in-store fittings and shop-alongs, which provided the kind of insight that you can only get when you’re talking to somebody one-on-one.”
The company has been rethinking its retailer-brand strategies as well. “The mix of private and market brands was something we spent a lot of time strategizing around, with a focus on the future portfolio of brands that is going to be relevant for our customers today and in the future,” said Dvir. “Private brands are an important part of our overall strategy because they allow us to have a tremendous amount of oversight over the brand, from a distribution and design perspective, as well as a quality and fit [perspective]. They also drive a lot of loyalty and repeat visits.”
Macy’s plans to release four additional private-label brands through 2025, each focused on a unique purpose and rooted in customer research, Dvir said.
Below are additional highlights from the conversation which have been lightly edited for clarity.
On the evolving brand-retailer relationship
“Brand partnerships are about long-range planning. What do we want to look like two years from now, and three years from now, and five years from now? What are our shared objectives, whether it’s sustainability or customer segments that we’re looking to go after? Doing it together as partners is what builds out incredible experiences for our customer, and it helps us to think about the right investments that we have by channel and the right way that we want to engage from a marketing perspective, and to make sure we have compelling assortments and that we share customer insights.”
Customer spending during tougher times
“Having the right mix of product and private brands not only creates great value for our customer, but it also drives profit for us as a retailer. For many different reasons, it gives us the ability to source the product and to cut some of the costs that could occur. By focusing on the matrix and this refresh and a new introduction of brands, we’re also going to be editing some brands. So that allows us to focus our assortment and make it easier for customers to shop.”
The importance of consistency across teams
“When you look at how the brand is being expressed across the full funnel, what PDP looks like, how reviews are showing up, and how the marketing looks in-store and online, it’s all about consistency. Our recent [store] openings off-mall and on-mall allow us to have this seamless omni-channel experience for our customer. Consistency takes a lot of really good collaboration, internally — a set of priorities that you’re all working on from across functions. Across this leadership team, and also the teams that we lead, there is a focus on making sure that we’re all focused on the right outcome. … Everyone’s wrapped around that same mission. That always helps organizations and companies, when you have that clear set of priorities. It’s very easy for people to latch on and get excited. When you’re trying to do too much, it can feel overwhelming.”