The chairman of Belk’s Southern division told students in Florida that department stores have staying power for several reasons, one of which is that they come up with creative solutions.
Retailers are growing customer service for online shoppers and using customer databases to personalize the shopping experience, David Penrod said to students at the University of Florida’s David F. Miller Center for Retailing Education & Research.
Department stores boost store loyalty, Penrod said, by developing high-quality private labels, a trend that will continue throughout the sector. And, even during this economic downturn, he said, department stores will survive because they are progressive thinkers.
Cue the Progressive Thinking
Macy’s announced today the rollout of what are essentially personal electronics vending machines to more than half of its full-line department stores throughout the United States.
Called e-Spot Automated Retail Shops, the mechanisms can complete a transaction in fewer than two minutes for customers who know what they are doing. Using e-Spot, according to Macy’s, is as simple as using an automated teller machine. The customer makes and confirms a product selection and swipes a credit card. Similar to getting a soft drink out of a vending machine, when the transaction is complete, the machine releases the product.
Products available from e-Spot include iPods, digital cameras, camcorders, headphones and mobile accessories. The e-Spots are available in 400 Macy’s stores.
Among the Macy’s stores offering the e-Spot is the used-to-be Marshall Field’s store on Chicago’s State Street. As previously reported here, loyal and disappointed Marshall Field’s shoppers have been trying ever since Field’s became Macy’s to get back their State Street store.
Well, as of this month, Field’s Fans are still at it, most recently passing out “Forever Marshall Field’s” buttons and leaflets during an all-night party in downtown Chicago.
Members of FieldsFansChicago.org say they counted seven times more people wearing “Forever Marshall Field’s” buttons than those carrying Macy’s shopping bags.
Gotta love ’em.