Saks Fifth Avenue is taking on some extra help for the holidays. As the gift-giving season approaches, a bot called Holiday Gift Guide will launch on Facebook Messenger, highlighting the brand’s efforts to appeal to younger consumers. But can the strategy help Saks endure the cold winds of the current retail climate?
So far, Saks Fifth Avenue has managed to escape the ruthless hands of the retailpocalypse, but its parent company Hudson’s Bay has not, with several closings and sales dips this year. Regardless, Saks has been making efforts to experiment with online enhancements, such as adding a Complete the Look tool to its site. However, it failed to make the most of the initiative, falling short in promoting private label products on pages for vendor brands. Similarly, the company falls short in optimizing its mobile site, which has a cluttered homepage that causes long load times, according to Gartner L2’s Digital IQ Index: Department Stores.
As teens trickle away from Facebook, Saks’ pattern of lackluster execution might be its new bot’s fatal flaw. Taking on technology in today’s retail climate isn’t enough—the company might want to carefully consider where and how it plants digital initiatives going forward.