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Macy’s Borrows From Amazon’s Playbook In Bid to Boost Online Sales

Macy’s is borrowing a page from Amazon’s and other retailers' playbooks in a bid to attract shoppers to its online offerings and boost e-commerce sales.

Old-school brick-and-mortar department store Macy’s  (M) - Get Free Report is borrowing a page from new-age mostly-digital Amazon.com’s  (AMZN) - Get Free Report playbook -- and other big-name retailer’s playbooks, for that matter -- in a bid to attract shoppers to its online offerings and boost e-commerce sales.

The new platform, which is integrated into the existing Macy’s website and app, brings an expanded assortment of 400 new brands across 20 product categories at launch, Macy’s said in a statement Wednesday. Indie sellers and brands will be able to list on Macy's site, selling and shipping products all on their own, though Macy's will still curate which products make the cut.

The marketplace, powered by Mirakl, is key piece of Macy’s turnaround strategy aimed at transforming the 164-year-old department store into a digitally led, omnichannel retailer. Macy's first announced its intentions to enter the space last November.

“After a year of intense work creating an exceptional experience for customers and sellers, we are thrilled to launch a curated marketplace on Macys.com, expanding our digital assortment to new categories, brands and products that our customers will love,” Matt Baer, Macy's Chief Digital and Customer Officer, said in the statement.

Taking on Target, Walmart and Others

“Seamlessly integrated into Macy’s digital shopping experience, marketplace gives our customers access to an array of expertly curated products -- from apparel and beauty to home improvement, toys, pet products and more.”

The retailer promises that “customers shopping online and through Macy’s mobile app should feel minimal differences in their overall experience,” with the only difference on marketplace listings being a badge indicating the product will be shipped by a third-party seller.

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Marketplace products will feature the same Star Rewards loyalty benefits and returns processes as first-party items, Macy’s said.

To be sure, Macy’s isn’t the first large-scale retailer to open its virtual doors to online sellers in a bid to up its online game.

Target  (TGT) - Get Free Report in 2019 launched Target+, its third-party marketplace, while Bed Bath & Beyond  (BBBY) - Get Free Report unveiled its own version in 2021. Walmart  (WMT) - Get Free Report got in on the third-party game way back in 2009, and in 2020 launched a third-party fulfillment service to rival Amazon's Fulfilled by Amazon offering.

Making Up for Lost Time With Makeup

Getting more variety on its virtual shelves isn't the only game plan Macy's has as it not only looks to compete with other retailers including Kohl's  (KSS) - Get Free Report and J.C. Penny  (JCP) - Get Free Report, but also braces for an economic downturn -- and turns to what many in the industry see as "recession-proof" product offerings.

Macy's earlier this month announced that it is expanding its existing beauty department by partnering with beauty line Kylie Cosmetics, a subsidiary of Coty  (COTY) - Get Free Report.

Kylie Cosmetics launched in 2015 with Kylie Lip Kits and has since expanded its cosmetics line. Kylie Cosmetics' main beauty products are a matte lipstick, a liquid lipstick, high gloss, and lip shine lacquer.

Kylie Cosmetics will be available at Macy's Oct. 1 through the spring of 2023. The cruelty and gluten-free and vegan beauty lines will offer holiday special giftbox sets.