Macy’s displaced Nordstrom and reclaimed the top spot in L2’s Digital IQ Index: Department Stores this year, but the outlook for the sector is hardly one of unvarnished optimism. However, omnichannel strategies such as click-and-collect –still in its infancy in the US – offer a beacon of hope. The top brands in L2’s study boast sophisticated omnichannel investments as well as strong performances across other dimensions, with millions of engaged followers on social media and high site traffic.

Top 10 Department Stores

1. Macy’s
Digital IQ: 142

Excellence across platforms helped Macy’s steal the top spot in the study. The chain was one of just three brands to debut shoppable tags on Instagram, while it backs up strong organic visibility on category terms with significant paid spend and is the largest PLA buyer across most major product categories.

2. Nordstrom
Digital IQ: 140

Despite not topping the Index, Nordstrom still puts up a strong performance. The brand consistently leads organic visibility across most categories, boosted by its heavy investment in SEM on branded terms, and is the top performer on four of the five social platforms scored. On Facebook, the retailer garners 20 times more interactions than its average competitor.

3. JCPenney
Digital IQ: 136

JCPenney leads on Twitter, garnering four times as many interactions per tweet as the average brand. Its site highlights multiple customer service channels, linking directly to the branded Twitter account and chat function and incorporating Click to Call functionality.

3. Kohl’s
Digital IQ: 136

Strong product pages integrate customer service features, while Kohl’s also presents reviews and product-specific FAQs to assist in purchase. On Pinterest, the retailer has four times more followers than the average brand.

5. Zappos
Digital IQ: 132

The online retailer demonstrates best-in-class loyalty integration, with the login portal prominently displaying account benefits such as expedited shipping for members. Zappos also garners above-average interaction rates on YouTube and Facebook.


Digital IQ: 130

ASOS boasts the biggest international footprint in the study, with impressive integration of language and shipping functionality. The brand maintains strong organic visibility across apparel terms and uses paid spend to gain share among shoe keywords.

7. Sears
Digital IQ: 129

In digital marketing, Sears enforces above-average visibility on unbranded category keywords with above-average paid spend and is the leader in home and garden terms. The brand’s sophisticated mobile site includes feature-rich product pages and allows users to book in-store appointments with subject matter experts.

8. John Lewis
Digital IQ: 126

John Lewis has adopted more search and navigation features than any other brand, and its integration of convenient filtering and sorting options maintains that forward-thinking mentality. The easy-to-navigate site features streamlined product pages displaying a complete range of fulfillment options and timeframes, and rounding out its digital success, the brand scores the most-viewed video on YouTube.

Top videos

9. DSW
Digital IQ: 125 

With features such as interactive size and fit tools, DSW product pages dominate those of competitors. Email campaigns use geolocation to provide relevant in-store event information at nearby locations, and DSW sees extremely high organic visibility on unbranded shoe terms.

9. Otto
Digital IQ: 125

Otto’s easy-to-use mobile site features persistent customer service and incorporates overlays to push consumers to the brand app. Express email signup helps the brand build its list, while robust bidding on PLAs for unbranded terms leads to near-universal visibility.

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