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Are old-world retailers keeping up? You know, the ones that existed since the beginning of time? Like Macy's at almost 150 years old. Have they adapted to today's market demands and trends?


I can't speak from experience for all these older retailers, but I can share a Macy's experience from this week. It made me wonder whether these oldtimers truly understand customer service now.
The recent Macy's flyer has my dinnerware on sale. I called my local store, about five minutes away, to see if they had the items in stock. The saleslady asked me in which flyer I saw the sale? I had to describe the photo on the cover.
Then she put me on hold while she checked inventory. No, she didn't have them in stock but she could call other Macy's in the city to check for me. That means I'd be getting in my car and driving to another store (further away) for pick-up - and that's IF they had all the items at one location. If not, it would mean traipsing to more than one store. Not too convenient.
Or, she said, I could have the items shipped to me, but from what the Web site indicated, shipping costs would add an additional $13.95. I would have to spend $250 to get free shipping and my order totalled $94.96.
I asked if she could order the items for me so I could pick them up at the nearby store, and her response was, "No, we don't do that."
Don't you just love customer answers that say, "It's not our policy," or "Sorry, can't do." Yikes.
Funny, the Macy's Web site says the following:
"Building Our Brands ... One Customer at a Time
While tens of millions of customers visit Macy's and Bloomingdale's each year, we don't take their business for granted.
The Macy's brand experience is brought to life through continued implementation of the four strategic priorities that have unwaveringly guided the growth in this business for the past five years - Distinctive Assortments, Simplified Pricing, Improving the Shopping Experience and Compelling Marketing."
Well, my shopping experience would have been better had I been able to pick up the items at the store near my house. Why pay $13.95 for shipping if I don't have to?
With technology making sales so much easier today, surely Macy's could figure out a way to serve customers without the need for shipping. The technology and office retailers do it. So, maybe it's viable. Besides, isn't the store experience what they're trying to promote? If I come into the store for pick-up, maybe I'll find other things to purchase. That can't happen with a shipment to my door.
What do you think? Have these older retailers lost sight of customer service today?

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
image of Elaine Fogel

Elaine Fogel is president and CMO of Solutions Marketing & Consulting LLC, and a marketing and branding thought leader, speaker, writer, and MarketingProfs contributor. She is the author of the Beyond Your Logo: 7 Brand Ideas That Matter Most for Small Business Success.

LinkedIn: Elaine Fogel

Twitter: @Elaine_Fogel