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Macy’s Aims for ‘Happy Customers’ With Livestream Shopping

Thamar Campbell said Macy’s has been adding more livestream events in recent months, and is up to four per week.

How does Macy’s measure livestreaming success? With “happy customers,” according to Thamar Campbell, director of product management at Macy’s.

Campbell said the department store giant has created livestream programming across several categories, including lifestyle and beauty. For Macy’s, calculating the return on that investment does exclusively lie in the financials. 

“You know what counts as success? Happy customers,” Campbell said while discussing Macy’s foray into livestreaming with WWD deputy managing editor Evan Clark. “We want to see folks coming back, we want to see customers enjoying themselves, and sometimes it’ll materialize in a purchase, and sometimes it’ll just materialize in engaging in the content itself. It’s building a relationship with customers,” Campbell said.

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“It’s not about taking advantage of the relationship. Ultimately, we want to meet and serve our customers, however, they choose to shop with us, wherever they choose to shop with us,” Campbell  continued. “I think livestreaming video is almost the confluence of the digital world and the physical world.” 

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Macy’s is now doing about four livestream programs per week, Campbell said. They live on the company’s website, and host Malia Makaila guides viewers through different products, which helps to foster a sense of community. The goal, Campbell said, is “bringing some of the special sauce that’s in the physical world into the digital world.” 

“As we build relationships with customers, that’s going to materialize in a number of different ways. So, some of that is engagement, some of that can be financial return, but ultimately, we want to create happy customers and that looks like satisfying their different shopping needs and that looks like satisfying their different social needs in this context,” Campbell said.

Macy’s livestreams have included an event to shop Dorion Renaud’s Buttah skin care, one for stylist-approved prom outfits and another featuring healthy meal prep appliances. “We’re bringing the best of the in-store shopping experience to the digital world,” Campbell said. “It’s an exciting opportunity for our customers to experience the social side of shopping online, whether it’s getting expert advice from stylists in real time or just deeper product knowledge from our experts.” 

Demand from customers is picking up, Campbell said. 

“The communication and that feedback loop, particularly in real time, that’s where the magic really happens, Campbell said. “This isn’t like watching TV — that is one-directional communication.”

When livestreaming, the retailer’s goal is to “create memorable moments” for customers, Campbell said, which includes highlighting what makes a particular product or category special.

“Customers are super engaged in the chatbox and we created a system where our hosts and stylists can respond to them in real time,” Campbell said.

Campbell said the U.S. lags behind China in terms of livestreaming’s popularity, but that Macy’s is “learning along the way” and “happy with what we’ve seen so far.” 

“I don’t know that there’s a formula that any one retailer or brand has quite figured out yet,” Campbell added.

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