Macy’s is diving into subscription services with the new Beauty Box. While the beauty market is already crowded with similar offerings and the retailer remains weighed down by a surplus of stores, the new endeavor has enough potential to get noticed.
To promote the box (and its spring apparel collection), the department store is tapping both influencers and customers to use the hashtag #FindRemarkable. Based on the chain’s successful history with social media, this could be an effective strategy to reach a new market. For example, Macy’s was one of just three brands in L2’s Digital IQ Index: Department Stores to debut shoppable tags on Instagram, a move that helped it knock Nordstrom off the shelf for the top spot in the ranking.
However, the retailer will still have to spar with pre-existing players such as Sephora and Ulta, along with online upstarts like Birchbox. While Macy’s diversity of departments could make converting customers into subscribers easier, its status as a department store could also work against it. Unlike competitors that can fully focus on beauty, Macy’s will have to balance its box with other categories in order to create sustainable success.
The retailer has experienced recent success in women’s categories, thanks to a new inclusive clothing line and pop-up concept The Market, used to bring new brands into brick-and-mortar. Additionally, its history of diversification over downsizing appears to be working, according to research from fashion data-analytics firm Edited—another encouraging sign for the Beauty Box.
While other mid-tier department stores have sought to reverse the tides of the retailpocalypse by downsizing stores or doubling down on discounts, the impact of this strategy on mainline sales and store traffic remains uncertain. Macy’s subscription box could offer another way for department stores to stay afloat.