Macy’s Amazon-Envy-Fueled Data Analytics Culture Change

Written by Frank Hayes
January 16th, 2013

At an NRF panel on Monday (Jan. 14), a Macy’s E-Commerce exec said the chain wants to run quite a few small-scale analytics trials, something the exec said was “Amazon-like.” (Now there’s an adjective that strikes deep retail emotions.) “We want to build an Amazon-like testing environment, but a testing culture is not something people understand right away,” said Kerem Tomak, VP of marketing analytics, according to our U.K. media partner, Retail Week. “We are educating others of the power of testing.”

Experimenting online to see what works best for collecting useful marketing and CRM data? Yes, that’s Amazonian, but it’s less of a culture change for Macy’s than it might seem. Remember, this is the chain that developed its shipping-from-stores system by starting with limited, low-cost experiments and then growing what worked and killing what didn’t. (Contrast that with JCPenney’s big-bang approach, where the chain locked into a grand plan and is now grimly marching into oblivion.) We’re pretty sure Tomak is wrong about Macy’s customers not understanding a “testing culture.” What they’ll hate is an “I found out somebody else was offered a lower price” culture. That’s when Macy’s will have trouble.


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