How Macy's, Lowe's and The Limited Are Tackling Omnichannel
In a session yesterday at the National Retail Federation's Big Show in New York city, three retail executives from leading brands Macy's, Lowe's and The Limited discussed how their companies have optimized omnichannel. R.B. Harrison, chief omnichannel officer at Macy's; Debra Ellis, CEO of The Limited; and Brent Kirby, chief omnichannel officer at Lowe's, participated in a panel discussion that broke down the multiple facets of being an omnichannel retail organization, from customer service to inventory to fulfillment and more.
Tactic, Not a Strategy
This is how omnichannel is classified at The Limited, Ellis said. We have a laser focus on our target customer — the sophisticated professional — and all our decisions are made with her in mind. Kirby of Lowe's echoed Ellis' thoughts, noting that the home improvement retailer seeks to meet the customer on their terms by providing service that's most meaningful and convenient to them. For Macy's, a large focus of its omnichannel efforts is to blend mobile into the in-store experience. "We want to deliver value to her when she wants it, where she wants it," said Harrison.
For The Limited, the omnichannel process starts with analyzing the customer's most relevant path to purchase. This frequently involves a "mixed cart," Ellis said. For the women's apparel and accessories brand, this meant giving consumers the ability to reserve items online to try on in-store. In addition to providing a much more meaningful service to the shopper, The Limited benefits too by enabling its store associates (aka stylists) to cross-sell an entire outfit, increasing average order values in the process.
A Culture Shift
At Lowe's, a strong commitment from the C-level execs to omnichannel has made Kirby's job a lot easier. Omnichannel is everyone in the organization's job, Kirby said, and he's thankful he has the unwavering support of his bosses to make that a company mandate.
Joe Keenan is the executive editor of Total Retail. Joe has more than 10 years experience covering the retail industry, and enjoys profiling innovative companies and people in the space.