I shopped more at Macy’s this holiday season than I have in years, but I only once walked under the red star and through the doors of a brick-and-mortar store.
Why? It wasn’t only because my family was having a destination Christmas, requiring me to ship gifts out of state. But I found it easier to price shop, monitor holiday rewards programs and track my spending online than trying to organize through paper receipts and credit card statements. (Macy’s gave me $20 credits for every $100 I spent online, making that $120 never-goes-on-sale North Face jacket I was eyeing for my daughter more affordable, and I never worried I’d forget to cash in a reward at the register or leave a coupon at home.)
Even in my non-holiday everyday life, I suspect I’m like lots of other consumers when it comes to fashion shopping: I know the sizes that fit me in the brands I like, and I don’t often relish the thought of hours at the mall, even if it means I miss out on the tactile experience of shopping.
So to me, Wednesday’s news that it would slash 10,000 jobs and continue with its plan to shutter 100 stores nationwide didn’t seem like a gut-buster, besides my sympathy for those losing jobs. (Macy’s officials announced in November that the store at Carolina Place Mall will close this spring; the store at SouthPark Mall hasn’t popped up on any closure lists.)
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None of this comes as a shock to those watching the retail landscape. Lots of retailers are dropping physical stores and trying to boost their online presence and compete with e-tailers like Amazon. From airline tickets to coffee tables, customers are increasingly turning to their phones or computers to make purchases they once made at a physical place.
With the exception of shoppers who have personal stylists within mall stores (by far the minority of mall shoppers), most of us don’t cultivate relationships with those who sell to us at shopping malls. We don’t go there seeking connection, so when we’re given the chance to make purchases from our devices and have goods appear two days later, we are increasingly turning there. (A September report counted that a total of 700 J.C. Penney, Dillard’s, Kohl’s, Macy’s and Sears stores have closed since 2013 – almost 20 percent of those chain’s total locations.)
As stores disappear one thing I do miss is making in-person returns. Somehow, knowing that I can walk into a local store and have money put instantly back in my account makes me feel better about taking a chance on a pair of well-priced heels or new coat.
What do you think? Will (or would) you miss your local Macy’s store? If you grew up a mall browser, are you still? Or has the advent of online shopping changed your shopping habits forever?