Macy’s One Below floor launched the first week of October as part of a $400 million plan to save the department store.
When I visited the store four months ago, I had mixed feelings about the way Macy’s perceived millennials. I thought their execution relied too much on stereotypes about our generation.
Four months later, I decided to come back to see if Macy’s made any improvements.
I was way more impressed the second time around, and have a renewed faith in the brand.
The first time I entered One Below, I was greeted by a Miley Cyrus poster and electronic music blasting over the speakers. Now, there isn't headache-inducing music or Miley Cyrus when you enter. It's less aggressive.
The chic, blonde mannequins are still perched on a simulated runway, dressed head-to-toe in upcoming spring fashion.
The Fitbit station is a new addition to One Below that wasn't in the store when I first visited. It's an area that helps customers find a fitness tracker that caters to their fitness needs. Touch screen computers provide customers with a complete rundown of the different Fitbits, so there's no need to ask a sales representative for assistance.
Another cool addition is the Etsy shop. Etsy is an online marketplace for handcrafted jewellery and DIY items. As an active user of Pinterest, I've ordered from Etsy before.
As a millennial, I think adding an Etsy shop to the flagship store was a good move. The Etsy shop is trendy, exclusive, and caters to millennial style.
The 3D printer is still in the store. Previously, I was sceptical if this would interest millennials because it makes bulky jewellery. Now, it lets customers to create their own phone cases. As a millennial, I think customisable phone cases are a more accurate and impressive use of the 3D printer.
I was previously sceptical of the jeans-embroidery station. I still think it caters to a younger crowd, but the idea behind it is fascinating.
This is the only Levi's custom laser bar in the country. Customers choose from a book, similar to a tattoo portfolio, that includes designs that the machine will laser onto Levi brand jeans in three minutes. I have to admit, the designs are pretty cheesy. Maybe with some subtle creativity this might look decent. Again, this is something for a younger generation.
During my previous visit, the blow dry bar said it would open in Fall 2015. Now, it says it will open spring 2016. I still believe this addition will benefit Macy's.
When the blow dry bar opens, customers will be be able to get new looks at Macy's, thanks to the Benefit Brow Bar, and the Clinique and MAC counters. Good to know if I ever need a full make over.
There is another selfie wall in the Arcade. This one allows customers to tap the screen and take a selfie with specific NYC landmarks -- such as the Empire State Building. I tapped the screen, but no image came up. I was looking forward to the best selfie ever.
I noticed that everything had a common theme: the selfie. Personally, I think it's overdone. As a millennial, I admit that I am a selfie-taker, but that doesn't mean I want to buy products that acknowledge the fact.
The best new addition to One Below is Macy's Chef Street, which offers four unique food trucks inside the store.
The set up of Macy's Chef Street is picnic benches surrounding permanently parked street food vendors.
The four food trucks are Rollie's for classic American cheeseburgers, Tabo Noodles for Japanese ramen, Taquitoria for San Diego-style tacos, and Crumb for Mediterranean salads and sandwiches. All are similarly priced from $9 - $13.
Each food truck is helmed by a well-known chef. Taquitoria is presented by Marc Forgione, who owns three restaurants in New York City and won The Next Iron Chef.
Each food truck makes an effort to offer an authentic experience. For instance, you can get flaming hot chips with your spicy taquitos.
Consumers, especially millennials, are shifting their spending habits away from apparel and Macy's is vying to keep up with this trend. One Below is Macy's answer to engage with millennials, and from what I saw the second time around, it seems to be working.
The new Fitbit station, Etsy shop, and food truck area are all positive steps towards Macy's goal of gaining millennials' attention. I would engage with all of these.
I like that One Below has a lot of DIY tools that allow customers to create customised products for themselves. These tools acknowledge the millennial attitude of wanting to stand out and be individuals -- to have our own one-of-a-kind products.
The 3D printer, the custom laser bar, the Fossil watch engraving station, and the Fitbit station are all ways to cater to the individual millennial, not as a whole -- which I think was Macy's problem the first time I visited.
I appreciated that the scene isn't too aggressive. My only criticism is the selfie obsession. It's not necessary and frankly, it's a turnoff.
But overall, I was pleasantly surprised by One Below's improvements, and I'm excited to go back to shop there.
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