Macy’s rolls out experiential Story retail concept across 36 locations


Macy’s is launching Story, the narrative-driven shop-in-shop concept across the country, one year after purchasing the retailer as it boosts its experiential capabilities. 

The original STORY concept started as a standalone retail space in NYC where the overarching theme and merchandise would change every six weeks, offering customers a constantly evolving shopping and events experience. Now within Macy’s stores, the inaugural theme will be “Color”, as customers can explore the theme through a curation of giftable products and more than 300 colour-inspired events.

“The discovery-led, narrative experience of STORY gives new customers a fresh reason to visit our stores and gives the current Macy’s customer even more reason to come back again and again throughout the year,” said Jeff Gennette, Macy’s, Inc. chairman & chief executive officer. “We’re excited about the potential for STORY and are happy to be launching Color STORY in 36 stores today.” 

Like the original concept, themes will change every few months and feature brand collaborations and dynamic event programming. For this iteration, more than 70 small businesses featuring 400 products will come together under the multicolored space, which allows guests to shop cross-category – from womenswear to home. This includes brands selling everything from gourmet chocolate bars to sunglasses and DTC kidswear clothing. Known names such as MAC Cosmetics, Crayola and Levi’s are joining in with exclusive merchandise and activations.

For example, MAC Cosmetics will offer its “Make Your Own” palette stations across 30 select STORY at Macy’s locations, while shoppers will also be able to book in beauty classes with makeup artists. Crayola will be hosting hands-on workshops that hope to inspire inventive uses of its products, such as creating custom patches to adorn Levi’s Kids denim jackets. Levi’s Kids will also be previewing a selection of the wider Levi’s x Crayola collaboration which will debut during the back-to-school season.

Ahead of the launch, Macy’s trained and hired more than 270 dedicated STORY Managers and STORYtellers in its new “Know + Tell” training programme, which aims to arm staff with skills in experiential retail – from building fixtures to customer engagement and event production.

Speaking of the launch, Rachel Shechtman, founder of STORY who joined Macy’s as its brand experience officer 18 months ago, said: “The simultaneous launch of STORY at Macy’s in 36 stores across 15 states is the successful outcome of a reimagined approach to cross-functional collaboration and the work of more than 300 Macy’s colleagues who contributed to creating this new, scalable business model nationwide.”

At the National Retail Federation’s Big Show in NYC earlier this year, Schechtman took the stage with Gennette to talk about how she has been approaching the STORY integration into the legacy retailer over the past 18 months. The major focus is on curation and scalability, she says, while staying true to the Macy’s DNA.

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