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Mapping the Shopper Journey Macy’s and Zara listen and lead


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Mapping the Shopper Journey: Macy’s and Zara listen and lead

by Bill Chidley

For the consumer whose life is integrated with technology, few shopping events are untied from social sites, mobile apps, blogs, calls, consumer reviews, group coupon notices, news and entertainment, music, games, photo uploads and plain old emails—all customized by the user according to their wants. The immediacy and multiplicity of digital has turned the path to purchase into a seeming labyrinth. Untethered from TV, radio, and newspapers and floating in a cloud of always-on technology, brands

are left wondering where to connect and how. There appear to be myriad touchpoints, but when and why are they accessed—and in what order?

Macy’s fashion editing By mapping the shopper journey, Macy’s has succeeded at listening to its customer. The insights it garnered through this research has allowed it locate its most meaningful and productive touchpoints, creating more value for customers.

Before retailers throw development time and money at the increasingly crowded and complex landscape of digital, it’s imperative they listen carefully to what their customers want. Listening (never one of retail’s strengths) is the central survival skill of the 21st century. Without it, relationships don’t happen. Listening to shoppers, combined with a clear, simple brand proposition delivered in a unique way, are the timeless disciplines behind commercial success.

For example, this year, based on customer feedback, Macy’s created the concept of fashion editing. Building on this idea, it designed a fashion challenge game for its website and extended this into its stores with merchandise that mirrors the online content. A micro-site, which it named “Fashion Director,” showcases trendy items as well as fun, celebrity studded, “how-to” videos. A sleek Facebook fan page lets customers shop the trends and sign up for Glamorama events. Macy’s was also one of the first retailers to create an app for the iPad by turning its catalog into a fashion show.

As this year’s Best Retail Brands reveals, some brands have excelled in this area. One such example is Macy’s.


Mapping the Shopper Journey: Macy’s and Zara listen and lead

Zara: Introducing a new online channel Another brand that derived insights from its customers and successfully integrated them into its brand is Zara. Traditionally, Zara has already been attuned to customer desire, using a highly sophisticated logistic system that allows production of more than 15,000 new products each year and complete stock rotation every 15 days. Additionally, Zara’s stores collect information regarding customer demand, which influences each store’s stock. It also introduces new products twice a week, garnering repeat customer visits.

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customers, cross channel communication, and offering relevant information consistently. Most importantly, however, it means listening to the customer and mapping their shopper journey.■

And yet, like its big fast fashion competitor, H&M, Zara was slow to embrace an online store, concerned that online would cannibalize its brick and mortar presence. In 2010, however, this changed, when Zara took a cue from customer feedback and opened its first online stores in Spain, France, the U.K., Portugal, and Italy, creating value through an increasingly vital touchpoint. In 2011, it hopes to do the same in the U.S. Overall, the move has been a good one for the brand. While Zara’s site traffic isn’t yet at the level of H&M and Gap, as of March 2011, its traffic has increased by 96.6 percent in a year, which surpases H&M’s 80.24 percent and Gap’s 29.84 percent. (www.compete.com) Listen and integrate As Macy’s and Zara’s successful efforts demonstrate, rather than attempt to compete with its media choices or aggressively change its behavior, retailers need to find a way to integrate digital into what they are already doing. This means socializing and personalizing offers for

Zara took a cue from customer feedback and opened its first online stores in Spain, France, the U.K., Portugal, and Italy, creating value through an increasingly vital touchpoint.


Bill Chidley Bill Chidley is Interbrand Design Forum’s Senior Vice President of Shopper Sciences. Bill has been working with leading brands for over twenty-five years, and is responsible for ensuring innovative outcomes and bringing brands to life. Bill serves as a liaison between Interbrand Design Forum’s powerful research and analytics tools and inspired client solutions. He sees innovation as the process that marries insights with clear objectives.

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Creating and managing brand value

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Mapping the Shopper Journey  

Because Macy's and Zara listen to the shopper, they lead when it comes to the shopper journey.

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