Here's How Macy's Is Driving Business with Subscriptions

Customer loyalty is a more difficult thing to acquire than ever before. With the internet opening customers up to a global marketplace of unprecedented choice, retail brands must think outside of the box in order to keep them returning for that all-important repeat business.

It is this need which has, in part, led to the rise in popularity of subscription services. If your brand can get customers to sign up for repeat and automated payments in return for goods or services, you significantly increase the chances of retaining that custom month after month.

According to the latest figures, a massive 54% of online shoppers are members of at least one subscription service. The biggest company in the game is Dollar Shave Club, which sends out 29% of subscription boxes, followed by Ipsy (21%) and Blue Apron (17%).

But new companies are entering the subscription market all the time. For example, the world-famous department store chain, Macy's, was looking for a way to boost its own business and has decided to step into the subscription game.


Due to its department store nature, Macy's has the distinct advantage of not being pigeon-holed into any one product type for its own foray into the subscription box market.

The first of its new subscription box line leveraged the power of its expansive line of cosmetics and other beauty products. This led to the launch of the Macy's Beauty Box, a monthly subscription which supplies the customer with a selection of five luxury beauty samples, one bonus item, and a collectible cosmetics bag. The subscription costs $15 per month and also gives customers a $5 coupon which can be redeemed either online or in-store. Finally, for even more added value, the box comes with a booklet that contains information on each product included as well as helpful tips on how to use them.

"This month's box is amazing," said one reviewer. "I got to try two new fragrances and an assortment of beauty/skincare products. My favorite has got to be those vitamin C serum capsules! I'm really enjoying the packaging because it's so convenient and I'm a sucker for convenience! The least would be the silicone sponge because I'm just not really a silicone sponge fan in general. But overall, I really enjoyed this month's box. Looking forward to more awesome beauty product discoveries next month!"

However, Macy's wasn't about to stop at cosmetics. They've announced plans to launch yet more subscription-based services to capitalize on this lucrative trend.


Following in the footsteps of Express, American Eagle, Ann Taylor, Urban Outfitters, and Nike, Macy's has also recently admitted to preparing to offer a subscription service for apparel. Details are scant, but it's expected that the service will offer customers the opportunity to try clothes on in the comfort of their home before making a purchase decision.

With this type of service, customers typically pay a monthly fee to receive a regular shipment of clothing, specially selected by a stylist based on their preferences. They can then decide which to purchase and which to send back. These decisions will then be added to the customer's profile to inform future selections, helping make the service more personalized the more the customer engages with it.

The department store giant is also planning to start offering clothing rental services, which will help people access the latest fashions without having to commit to a permanent purchase.

Macy's also started a pilot in Q3 2019 with resale marketplace ThredUp at 40 Macy's locations across the United States, taking up about 500 square feet of space at each location. As the largest online and consignment thrift store, ThredUp specializes in acquiring pre-loved clothing and giving it a new lease of life, while offering customers a fantastic deal on top fashions.

People are more conscious than ever about the environmental impact of the products they use and are always looking for ways to reduce the footprint of their favorite brands. Offering rentals and resales is an amazing way to let customers access the latest fashions without having to purchase them permanently, only to maybe be worn once and then abandoned in the back of a wardrobe.

"We know many consumers are passionate about sustainable fashion and shopping resale," said Macy's CEO, Jeff Gennette. "This partnership gives us the opportunity to reach a new customer and keep them coming back to shop an ever-changing selection of styles, and brands, that we don't typically carry."

Final Thoughts

Subscriptions are indeed a fantastic way to almost guarantee repeat business from your customers (once you've convinced them to sign up in the first place, of course) and it's great to see a well-known brand such as Macy's leveraging its power to not only offer its customers a great service but also do some service for the planet as well.

You can hear Macy's Director of Product Management for Stores, Steve Freeman, speak at Future Stores West 2020, taking place in June at The Sheraton Seattle.

Download the agenda today for more information and insights.

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