As seasons change and people begin to think about fall fashion trends, Macy's is expanding an existing in-store experience and, in turn, hopes its customers continue using their mobile devices to access video content while they shop.
Originally launched in February 2011 for its spring collections, Macy's Backstage Pass QR code program now includes additional videos for the fall season featuring celebrity designers Kenneth Cole, Sean "Diddy" Combs, Tommy Hilfiger, Michael Kors, Rachel Roy, Jessica Simpson, and Martha Stewart. The idea behind the campaign is to help customers "put it all together to assist in understanding and navigating seasonal trends," according to Macy's.
In order to access this content in-store, customers must spot a QR code display, and scan the code with a mobile device to view an approximately 30-second video on their phones. Content is focused on Macy's Home, Men's, Young Contemporary and Cosmetics departments. A Macy's spokesperson said the retailer saw these particular areas expanding and wanted to add more informative videos. Now these categories have "over two dozen" videos.
"We feel we are an authority in terms of fashion and the designers are people [customers] look up to," said the spokesperson. "They want help navigating seasonal trends and we can't take all of our celebrity designers to all of our stores, so we thought, 'Let's create informative how-to videos with trends and what's in store for the season and deliver those videos via the QR technology.' "
According to the spokesperson, Macy's saw "hundreds of thousands of interactions" as a result of its spring QR code campaign and he is confident users will continue to engage with the technology.
However, while the concept of on-the-spot advice from famous faces is certainly intriguing, individual in-store execution may need work, as ClickZ discovered while attempting to try out the experience at a Macy's in Jersey City, NJ. At least in the Jersey City store, the QR Codes were difficult to locate. Indeed, several sales associates and a manager knew nothing about the program or where to find the Backstage Pass displays. The displays were finally found in the Young Contemporary and Men's departments. Also, some of the mobile videos are more like product promos than actual fashion tips.
A wider range of the videos is available on Macy's YouTube channel, including some that do offer tips for fall. "Backstage with Michael Kors at Macy's" gives advice about bags this season, "Backstage with Sean John at Macy's" discusses slim-fit pants for men, and "Backstage with Jessica Simpson at Macy's" provides insight about how to wear jeans.
"When we went into the campaign, we knew there'd be learning curve," he said. "But we were very encouraged by the interaction and feedback and have continued with the campaign."
In order to tutor customers who may be unfamiliar with the technology, Macy's has a "How to use Macy's Backstage Pass" video, which is available by texting "learn" to MACYS (62297) as well as at macys.com/backstagepass and on its Facebook page and YouTube channel. Smartphone users can download a QR code reader app by texting "reader" to MACYS. Shoppers with phones that are not equipped with the necessary cameras to scan the codes can receive the content via MMS by texting the keyword found beside each Backstage Pass, to MACYS.
The retailer will begin airing a new television spot in mid-September featuring some of the same designers that appear in its Backstage Pass videos. JWT New York helped develop the Backstage Pass campaign, the current iteration of which will run through mid-October. At that time, Macy's will transition to holiday videos; however, the fall codes and videos will remain accessible.
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Lisa Lacy is senior staff writer at ClickZ. In addition to ClickZ, her work has appeared in The Huffington Post, The Luxury Spot, LearnVest, MarthaStewart.com, GoodHousekeeping.com, amNewYork, and The Wall Street Journal. She's a graduate of Columbia's School of Journalism.
March 19, 2014