Macy’s has a gift for getting a bad rap
Macy’s is tearing up another longstanding department store tradition, but perhaps this time, we sho adidas superstar uld give the retailer a break.
Reporters, myself included, jumped on the recent announcement that gift wrap services will no longer be offered at Macy’s stores in Minnesota and most other locations throughout the country. Some industry analysts declared eliminating gift wrapping is just one more way the department store is making itself indistinguishable from discounters. Except for prices. Discounters’ are better.
Let’s face it: We love to hate Macy’s. We’re quick to criticize any time it does something to chip away at our quaint memories of the glorious department store a place where coats could be checked, live piano music played, service was attentive, merchandise was special and sales were an event.
Macy’s has done a lot of dumb things. But cutting gift wrapping is not the dumbest.
“Demand for gift wrapping services has been diminishing for many years,” said Macy’s senior vice president of corporate communications Jim Sluzewski. “In some cases, this is because customers have shifted to more casual gift bags. We also have heard from some customers that they prefer not to gift wrap for environmental reasons.”
Most gift wrap is not recyclable. Nor is it free wrapped packages at Macy’s used to cost between $5.95 and $10.95, depending on size.
“People are becoming more conscientious across the board about spending, about recycling,” said Kate Rime, director of the Blue Sky Guide, an annual compilation of eco friendly Twin Cities resources. “Maybe they’re taking gifts home and wrapping them in a more conscientious way, or not at all. Clean Air Council reminds people that gift wrap and gift bags create an extra 4 million tons of waste over the holid adidas superstar ays. That number is at least a few years dated, said a spokeswoman for the council, which does not have statistics showing whether the amount of gift wrap Americans consume is decreasing.
Even if shoppers are wrapping less, consumer marketing expert Pam Danziger believes Macy’s is making a mistake.
“Traditional department stores like Macy’s need to distinguish their brand by recapturing the customer service experience and delivering it to their customers,” Danziger wrote in a newsletter for her company, Unity Marketing. “Customers will pay more for quality service that extends to walking out the door with a perfectly wrapped gift, ready for giving.”
According to Danziger’s 2010 Gifting Report, $1 of every $10 spent at a department store is for a gift.
Von Maur in Eden Prairie remains one of the few department stores to provide adidas superstar gift wrap on any purchase for free. Nordstrom offers gift boxes and ribbon. At Neiman Marcus, gift boxing with r adidas superstar ibbon and an attached gadget costs $7.50 (it’s free for big spenders).
Minneapolis based Creative Kidstuff charges $1 to wrap gifts at its stores. Happi Olson, director of sales and marketing, says demand shows no sign of decreasing. “We do a ton of it it’s really part of our brand.”
Macy’s has been quietly disbanding its gift wrap stations at Rosedale Center, Mall of America, downtown Minneapolis and other stores for months. Any remaining gift wrap counters will be closed by April.
The department store is taking steps to smooth over the change with its wedding registry clients. Gift wrap used to be free on items purchased off a registry. Instead, the store will offer a silver paper gift bag, Sluzewski said. Macy’s is also beefing up the assortment of packaged gift wrap for sale and will continue to provide free gift boxes.
This change seems to be more a sign of the times than Macy’s killing the magic. For once, it has a cheering section: environmentalists. The store should have done more to court them, to play up the decision as green.