Iconic clothing retailer Macy’s has struggled with retail sales the past few years, but its virtual stores are dominating the online market. The company had 55 million online visitors just in the last quarter, besting Internet giants like Amazon as well as other big-name retailers like The Gap and Nordstrom.
Despite the online success, Macy’s has had to close 200 of its physical stores in order to make up for declining revenue.
A new study conducted by research firm Similar Web found Macy’s to be the number one online clothing store in the U.S. by a longshot, gathering about 25% of all online traffic to the top ten apparel sites, according to website Money. Macy’s also had twice as much traffic as the second-place rival JC Penney.
Macy’s has been a household name and go-to retail brand for decades when it comes to shopping for clothes. However, the retail giant has faced industry challenges in recent years with more customers preferring to shop for deals online, turning to new specialty brands, or opting for subscription box services. However, the company isn’t ready to write off brick and mortar sales altogether.
Former Macy’s CEO Terry Lundgren spoke at the Global Retailing Conference in April, noting that for retailers to be successful today, they must have both an online and physical presence, and make it easy and accessible for customers to navigate both.
"Neither one or the other is the way consumers shop today," Lundgren said.
He also pointed out that only ten percent of all retail sales occur online, and that "people are definitely choosing, nine times out of 10 transactions, to do it in a physical environment," he said.
However, Macy’s seems to be focused on tech and innovative approaches, adopting new ways for customers to shop and access their offerings.
In March, the company opened trial storage lockers in select locations, including New Jersey stores, for customers who make purchases online but prefer to pick up in person from their local Macy’s store. (Amazon introduced this concept in 2011.) Macy’s is offering incentives for the program, including twenty percent off purchases.
Macy’s also plans to introduce mobile checkout by the end of the year, enabling customers to scan barcodes and pay through their phones. They would then be able to go to an assigned counter to get any product tags removed, streamlining the purchase process.
According to Similar Web’s study, eight of the top ten online retail stores are brick and mortar, whereas only two – Zulilly and Zappos – originated online. Nike, Foot Locker, Victoria’s Secret and Forever 21 also made the top ten.