Increasing vendor diversity for a Fortune 500 retailer in a meaningful way.
To fully implement its successful MyMacy’s customization strategy, Macy’s needed to increase the number of minority and women-owned vendors in its nationwide network including hundreds of stores. They’d carefully cultivated smaller vendors, but found smaller companies often struggled making the leap to working with a large-scale retailer.
To smooth the transition and increase success rates, the company created The Workshop at Macy’s – an intensive four-and-a-half day program designed to educate and mentor high-potential women- and multicultural-owned companies on how to perform and sustain growth in the retail industry. Beyond that, Macy’s planned to offer the program free of charge to its hand-selected participants.
The next challenge was to locate potential vendors, develop insights into their potential concerns, and educate them about the Workshop – ultimately driving them to apply. The need for an online application was obvious, but what content would resonate and drive engagement was less clear. The Workshop at Macy’s team chose Sanger & Eby to help bring the groundbreaking new program to life.
Focus groups revealed up-and-coming retail entrepreneurs most valued business innovation and strategy content from the retail giant, along with more detail about the Workshop itself. There was also a strong desire for inspirational success stories of vendors who successfully made the leap to a business relationship with Macy’s.
Using insights from the focus groups, we created a content strategy, interactive communications strategy, and website content designed to provide inspiration and reassurance to potential participants. The site’s elegant design created by the Sanger & Eby team provides an outstanding user experience to visitors across all platforms – desktop, tablet, and mobile. We also designed and built the application as well as a sophisticated, highly usable applicant management and tracking tool, streamlining the process for the Workshop team.
In a matter of weeks, we had a fully functional engagement platform rolled out, and the applications began pouring in from a focused social media and blogger outreach campaign and targeted print advertising, with all channels driving traffic to a highly-designed, content-rich website anchored by the online application.
From the outset, the Workshop at Macy’s has exceeded all expectations. In the first year, more than 300 applicants competed for 10 program spots, and Macy’s expanded the Workshop to 22 spots to accommodate the most promising candidates. The selection process was tracked on the website and through social channels, with highlight videos and photos posted following the Workshop.
Easy-to-use, custom applicant management and tracking tool
Participants continue to describe the program as “life-changing,” making comments like “It affects not only our lives, but the lives of everyone in our company, and our business model. It has a long-term effect on our success!”
Macy’s Group Vice President of Leased Businesses, Vendor Collaboration, and Multicultural Business Development Shawn Outler says “The participants have so many breakthrough moments; you can see things starting to click for them, as they begin to see how many more opportunities they have than they’d realized.”
The Workshop has generated multiple vendor relationships with Workshop graduates, who’ve seen their lines rolled out at select Macy’s stores across the US. Success stories include Urban Intimates Global and twelveNYC – a 2014 Workshop participant that has now become one of Macy’s top 15 Minority & Women-owned Enterprise vendors. Twelve NYC joins Spanx, Sean John, Eileen Fisher, and Jockey on that high-powered, high performance list.
More Workshop vendor relationships are in development, meaning the Workshop has achieved its ultimate goal of generating a viable pipeline of businesses that ultimately bring unique products to Macy’s stores and online retail site and fulfilling Macy’s long-standing commitment to vendor diversity.
Sanger & Eby continues to partner with the Workshop at Macy’s team as the program grows, evolves, and successfully launches new vendors into Macy’s.