The Macy’s store in New York City’s Herald Square is getting a new tenant: Etsy has announced plans to open a pop-up shop inside the retail store. The temporary shopping installation will feature products from eight of the top Etsy product designers, and inventory will be available on-hand for shoppers to purchase items and bring them home immediately.
As Internet Retailer points out, Macy’s isn’t the first major retailer to partner with Etsy. Williams-Sonoma, Nordstrom, and Indigo Books and Music have all carried Etsy products during similar campaigns in the past.
On the surface, the partnership seems self-defeating–Etsy is, after all, an online retailer that drove $1.647 billion in sales last year, making it a direct competitor, in some ways to their partner retailers.
First, consider Macy’s benefits in the deal. The company offers many of the same product types that Etsy will be selling in its pop-up shop, including housewares and jewelry. But this isn’t about selling products; this is about creating an experience, and turning a physical store into a shopping destination.
By allowing an Etsy pop-up shop inside its store, Macy’s can offer shoppers a rare opportunity to see online retailed goods in-person. Etsy doesn’t have any physical locations, so its temporary installations are must-visit attractions for its fans. Shoppers will enter Macy’s to visit the Etsy shop, but they’ll also be coming to enjoy an exclusive in-store experience.
Macy’s has a long reputation of trying to create this type of experience, dating back well before the advent of the Internet. Its time-honored holiday traditions of in-store Santas and elaborate Winter Wonderland installations are all part of its drive to offer something exclusive to its brick-and-mortar consumers.
More than most retailers, Macy’s tries to fashion itself as a destination for experiences, not merely a place to purchase products. A partnership with Etsy achieves exactly that. Even if Macy’s doesn’t sell a product to a consumer, it still benefits from the buzz and engagement that comes from heavy traffic into its store.
Etsy, meanwhile, capitalizes on a chance to interact with consumers one-on-one. Its top designers gain great exposure, and consumers unfamiliar with Etsy have a chance to get acquainted with its offerings, which strengthen the brand’s activations among shoppers. And, because Etsy offers the best of the best in its pop-up shops, the perceived quality of its retail offerings gets a great boost.
In the end, Etsy and Macy’s each have assets that the other one wants. This partnership allows these brands to swap certain benefits, creating a retail win-win–and, for consumers, an in–store experience that’s hard to beat.
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