Macy’s, Kohl’s, Nordstrom, and JCPenney’s Q2 earnings all confirm that department store sales continue to dwindle. However, brands are focusing on digital strategies to drive e-commerce growth and stronger performance online. L2’s Insight Report covers department stores’ approach to paid search — an integral component of online performance.

Among these four department stores, Nordstrom wins on organic search for accessory, apparel, beauty, and shoe terms, edging out Macy’s by more than 9 percentage points in each category.


However, Macy’s supplements its lower organic visibility with SEM spend to push its total search visibility ahead of Nordstrom’s in all four categories. The brand’s combined organic and paid strategies result in visibility on 83% of accessory terms, 84% of apparel terms, 72% of beauty terms, and 90% of shoe terms.


As more paid ads take share from organic real estate on Google, Macy’s strategy compensates for the retailer’s low organic visibility. It also ensures that consumers continue to see the brand on queries across multiple categories.



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