Tuesday, September 2nd16.7°C
Ignite Innovate Impact - Geoff Mintenko

The magic of MACY'S

I’m an avid consumer. I love MACY’S and absolutely no doubt about it, I love to shop. My consumerism has been a great benefit to myself and my clients in more ways than one as my business has grown over the years.

Being a visual person, combined with a strong background in retail and retail floor layout, has allowed me to develop a laser vision on what’s working on a retailer’s floor and what’s not.

In very quick measure, I’m able to see areas of concern, where money is being left on the table and plot a course of action to turn these areas or stores into income generators.

When I’m working with clients that require a fresh approach retail floor make over, MACY’S is top of mind to me on how retailing is done right and I’m more than happy to share some of their winning strategies.

To give some brief background, MACY’S Inc had fiscal sales of about $ 27.9 billion in 2013. They operate about 840 stores in 45 states. MACY’S workforce is diverse and includes approximately 172,500 employees.

Having just returned from Las Vegas, the MACY’S located in The Fashion Show Mall is still fresh in my mind, so I’ll use this shop as my basis today. However it’s important to know their standards are the same throughout their entire operation.

The magic of MACY’S key observations and winning strategies:

  • Clean, clean, clean - This MACY’S has two separate stores covering two floors each. The square footage is huge! Every single department in every area was spotless. It shows they care.
  • Lighting - The lighting was perfect. Bright and clean, no dark areas and the spot lights were placed perfectly over the displays they were featuring. It shows they care.
  • Clearly Marked Departments - No mixed messages here, departments are clearly defined and product mixes stay within their zones. The signage is superb, each department is specialized. It shows they care.
  • Big Open Walkways - Clean paths to navigate the store make life good! No pop up clearance tables or hanging racks in the walkways. A perfect balance is created between the merchandise and the consumer. It shows they care.
  • Abundant Selection - Every department from fashion to jewelry, bed and bath to dining was very well appointed. Stocked shelves and a deep selection of product mix shows that they mean business. It shows they care.
  • Background Music - Every department had its own groove happening. In the men’s wear area they were playing some cool blues. By the shoe department some upbeat dance. No local yokel radio being played here, they made the music personal. It shows they care.
  • Friendly, attentive, present and pleasant staff - Knowledgeable, present and pleasant staff makes all the difference. No pushiness, just really a pleasure to talk to. These people are really into what they are doing. It shows they care.

Now let’s set the record straight. I know most retailers do care about their clients shopping experience and you are probably one of those retailers. The problem is, often retailers become so busy in the day to day nature of business they become blind to the details of their business that once set them apart. It’s just good to take an honest look at your operation now and again with clear focus and without distraction. It’s also important to know you don’t have to have a MACY’S budget to do a great job. I know you care.

I could go on and on raving about MACY’s, but I’ve got some shopping to do. Happy retailing!


Questions, comments? Come over to my Retail Evolution Facebook page and start a discussion. https://www.facebook.com/RetailEvolution 


Trade shows help you grow

There’s a question that I’ve been asked from time to time regarding the importance or non-importance of attending industry trade shows.

Some retailers find trade shows to be an expense they are not willing to invest in. The cost factor and having themselves or key staff away from the business is just too much for them to consider.

To those particular retailers, I would ask them to re-consider. In today’s marketplace more than ever, your business or industry’s livelihood relies on you being cutting edge, current and aware of all new trends and developments. Your future relies on it.

Myself and my team from Retail Evolution, will be in Las Vegas this week attending a huge trade show. Las Vegas Market is a furniture trade show held at World Market Center, a five million square foot custom campus showcasing thousands of new product introductions from all over the world and stellar educational sessions from some of the top minds in the furniture industry.

Since my company works with furniture companies ongoing, it’s important myself and my team keep current with the industry. We pride ourselves in being relevant and up to date with all the industries we work with and try to attend as many unique trade shows throughout North America as we can.

Whether you operate a consulting firm like myself or are a retailer or a wholesaler, there are many reasons and advantages for attending trade shows. Let's cover a few so you may start planning for your next one.

  1. The amount of knowledge and exposure to new trends, products and resources is worth it. You’ll find out what’s hot and what’s not and what your company should be doing right now.
  2. You’ll meet other retailers and vendors that you’ll learn from and possibly gain business from.
  3. You and your team can attend educational seminars and networking events. These events constantly expose you to new people and new business.
  4. You will learn a lot about what your competition is up to. This allows you to evaluate your personal strengths and weaknesses to best support your business.
  5. Trust me, your general experience at most trade shows will stimulate new ideas for you. Your participation at the show will have many long term benefits for you and your team.
  6. A bonus is, most of these trade shows have excellent press attending. You have an opportunity to shine! Make sure you’re prepared to speak about what you and your company offer, the world could be watching!
  7. These shows offer great opportunities to get answers right away from vendors.
  8. The information you bring back home with you will benefit the rest of your staff and customers. I’ve personally seen this happen so many times, it’s truly energizing to see the positive effect it has on so many people.
  9. Fun! Yes my friends it’s okay to have fun in business. Going to these shows can be very entertaining. They break you out of a typical work cycle and allow you to enjoy things a little differently.

That’s a wrap, now go start packing!


Questions, comments? Come over to my Retail Evolution Facebook page and start a discussion https://www.facebook.com/RetailEvolution 

Executive time management

Time is one of your most precious resources. Once lost it can’t be replaced.

I’ve known great executives that have become merely good executives when they simply hadn’t used their time well. On the flip side, I've also seen good executives turn into great ones when they’ve applied each action of their day to its best purpose.

I frequently get asked for some tips on time management and making better use of time for those at the executive level.

Here are some of my thoughts on not wasting that precious resource called time:

1.  I believe we all achieve true happiness and flow in our personal and business lives when we spend our day doing what we enjoy most. It’s important to bring your personal values into sync with what’s important to your duties at the workplace. We all excel to the fullest and more effectively so, when we enjoy what we do. List for yourself and identify where your strengths are best suited and start to delegate the other tasks you don’t flow with to people that may be better suited for them.

2.  Discontinue unnecessary meetings. Many companies have fallen into the trap of carrying on with weekly meetings etc, because that’s how it’s always been done. Quite simply, the past does not equate the future. If there is truly no ongoing benefit, discontinue the meetings.

3.  Protect yourself from unwanted visitors. I made it a rule years ago, I would never answer my phone if the time was not right for me. I also made it a rule never to take walk in meetings with people that are cold calling. I and many others find cold calling to be a very intrusive outdated way of building a business relationship. There are so many other ways to make a positive impression and generate a meeting if the prospect is interested.

4.  Learn to spend less time in crisis. Don’t get caught up in what others may deem urgent. Many so called crises don’t deserve the attention we give them. Become a master at analyzing problems in stealth mode. Never leave an important task for one that shouts louder. This is where having exceptional staff in place to be active decision makers can really benefit your personal time and company.

5.  Stop procrastinating. If you just went and did that thing you don’t really want to do, that thing will no longer be on your mind and you could focus on other things.

6.  Take time to restore your energy and attitude. Find your happy place, get out of the office, go for a walk, take an extended lunch with a friend, do some yoga. Whatever restores your enthusiasm and passion – just do it!

7.  Learn to ask yourself questions like – Is this the best use of my time? Your inner voice will answer correctly most all the time.


This is just a small slice of the executive time management cake. There’s far more you can do to streamline your workday if you wish to.


Questions, comments? Come over my Retail Evolution Facebook page and start a discussion. https://www.facebook.com/RetailEvolution 


Sales floor bully

Here’s a question that came up awhile ago from a West Coast retailer for which I do some consulting. The same question has been asked of me before from various other companies and I believe it warrants sharing.



What do I do about an uncomfortable situation that’s getting continually worse as time goes on? It’s in regards to my top sales person, a fairly long term employee that’s never been a team player and does not play by the rules of our sales floor. We’ve allowed this to go on (uncomfortably so) because the individual is our top sales person, writing over one million dollars a year in annual sales. We don’t want to lose the revenue generated by the individual, however we continually lose other staff (good people) and some customers due to this individuals bullying attitude and cavalier approach. My sales manager’s time and my time is consumed by attending to the fallout of this person's actions ongoing.  Help!


Here are my thoughts on this:

There is no room on any sales floor for individuals that are bullies, liars, cheats or thieves, no matter how many sales they make. Individuals that upset the balance and integrity of systems that benefit clients and staff have no place in that work environment.

In saying that, a proper course of action has to be taken. The first step is that you do recognize that there is a real problem. We then determine that this employee’s behaviour is causing a threat to others and your business.

We’d then make sure we have the employee’s side of the story. Following that, we would document, document, document. It’s also important at this time to make changes to your operating processes and have the rouge employee sign off on them. You then must examine your responsibility for the problem. Once you have all the information, decide on a response. If serious disciplinary action is called for, you or your HR team would be best to discuss the matter with a competent employment law attorney.

The final step would be to take action.


I can share with you, that in the above situation, proper action was taken. The employee was terminated for just cause after not complying with new processes that were put into place. Now an amazing thing occurred once the bully was gone. Other sales individuals were able to step up and shine. This was a sales team of approximately 20 people, with ongoing coaching and mentoring and we were able to not only regain the volume of sales written by the exited bully, but surpassed expectations outlined in the Proforma we had built.

The end result was a happier, more effective management team, sales staff and customer base, all equating to a more profitable business model.

The world is just a better place without bullies.


Got a question? Email me at [email protected]

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About the Author

Renowned Retail Expert and Strategist Geoff Mintenko is the driving force behind the company Retail-Evolution. Geoff consults and speaks to power retailers North America-wide, sparking innovation, igniting positive change and helping companies thrive is his passion.

Geoff’s real-speak, direct approach attitude to business, has garnered him local and international acclaim. The articles he writes and the keynote speeches he gives are meant to stimulate, educate and frustrate - that’s a good thing, it helps business evolve. Helping companies break boundaries, shift mindset and foster a culture of creativity is Geoff’s specialty. He has helped many companies thrive in this ever-changing economic climate.

You can find him at www.retail-evolution.com or [email protected]


The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet presents its columns "as is" and does not warrant the contents.

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