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Reinventing the marketplace

Deloitte Digital collaborated with Macy’s, Inc. to build, orchestrate, and implement its new digital third-party marketplace. With this new platform, we helped Macy’s, Inc. reimagine its e-commerce ecosystem to fuel growth and meet ever-evolving customer needs.

With help from Deloitte Digital, Macy’s, Inc. launched a new third-party marketplace on macys.com, creating a one-stop shopping experience for customers. The integrated new digital e-commerce platform curates an assortment of new brands, products, and merchandise categories from independent merchants and brand partners.

The platform enables macys.com to become a fully integrated shopping destination that bridges the gap between boutique brands and retail giants to bring more to customers, all at the click of a button. Additionally, the platform allows Macy’s to drive purpose-led growth by supporting its goal of featuring minority and women-owned businesses as part of its ongoing brand promise.

Understanding the e-commerce challenge

In an age of iconic retail brands competing with digital marketplaces offering a central space to meet multiple shopping needs, Macy’s aimed to continue boosting its e-commerce capabilities. It needed a faster and more flexible way to add new products and categories to its website and capture trends without the lengthy process of sourcing, purchasing, stocking, and delivering.

In creating the third-party-seller online platform, Macy’s joins a growing number of retailers doing the same.

“We spent time talking to a lot of other retailers who had launched a marketplace before,” notes Laura Miller, Macy’s, Inc. chief information officer. “We listened to their lessons learned so we could get ours off the ground quickly and smoothly.”

“The marketplace allows us to move into new and adjacent categories more quickly—without any risk from an inventory perspective—to test customer demand and continue to meet customer expectations. It enables us to create more profitable customer relationships and to add styles and trends as they emerge.”

Matt Baer, Macy’s, Inc. chief digital and customer officer

Orchestrating an omnichannel retail transformation

Deloitte Digital worked closely with the Macy’s team to create an experience that would meet the needs of the omnichannel customer.

Launching the platform required not just a significant creative e-commerce transformation, but the integration of a whole new B2B business model into more than 40 different systems and processes across the company. We supported this effort by: 

  • Driving strategy: Establishing unique marketplace business processes such as seller onboarding, product identification, and offer creation
  • Implementing innovative technology: Leading the configuration and integration of Mirakl, an industry-leading third-party marketplace platform, into the existing technology stack to provide third-party sellers an opportunity to integrate their products into Macy’s e-commerce landscape
  • Initiating business processes: Running the Program Management office, a department tasked with coordinating efforts across 25+ teams comprised of 250+ stakeholders, and modifying 40 systems
  • Cleaning up the messy middle: Building a custom data integration layer that allowed seamless interchange of data between Mirakl and Macy’s, Inc. internal systems, powering efficient business processes across marketing, merchandising, sales, service, and finance systems 
Macys marketplace on tablet

“Our customers are omnichannel customers,” explains Miller. “They are used to shopping online, picking up curbside, and returning an item to the store. However, the marketplace requires different processes on the back end, and we had to think through that very carefully. It took collaboration across Macy’s entire ecosystem—including the digital and customer, IT (Information Technology), stores, and supply chain teams. It was a real team sport,” he said.

”This digital transformation puts Macy’s at the forefront of what’s next in retail, combining brand-appropriate curation with the efficiency, flexibility, and scale of a marketplace,” said Surya Saurabh, senior manager at Deloitte Digital and a leader in Deloitte’s marketplace practice, which helped Macy’s, Inc. with this strategic transformation. “It points to the future of retail where ecosystems and partnerships (third-party sellers in this case) will help retailers unlock additional value from existing assets (Macy’s e-commerce presence).”

The new marketplace platform allows Macy’s to venture into new categories like electronics, video games, wellness, sports nutrition, and more. Because it is integrated into Macy’s existing site, shoppers can browse products from Macy’s and its partners all in one space. During the fall 2022 launch, as the marketplace scaled, it provided customers access to 400 unique brands and 20 product categories (eight of them new to Macy’s).

Implementing the marketplace into the existing Macy’s, Inc. tech architecture enables rapid scaling without the associated supply chain costs to the retailer. It also helps Macy’s give voice to brands from underrepresented communities.

“What we're doing is expanding that great value we offer in a wide assortment of products, giving customers even more ways to shop.”

Josh Janos, Macy’s, Inc. vice president of marketplace

Creating a path for the future of retail

Our breadth of experience in marketing, strategy, design, technology, and finance integrations powered the execution of the Macy’s, Inc. digital marketplace transformation and allowed us to seamlessly integrate Mirakl into the retailer’s current technology stack using a tailor-made integration layer. We were able to rewire Macy’s technology through the thoughtful integration of internal and external capabilities to engineer continuous advantage at every stage of the customer journey.

“We created a centralized layer that coordinated information flow between Macy’s systems and Mirakl to enable seller catalog uploads, real-time inventory, and order management capabilities,” said Saurabh. “Doing so created greater efficiencies to allow scaling of the marketplace and ultimately meet the customer needs in a much quicker way,” he said. 

“A successful marketplace focuses on providing products and services that expand your product assortment beyond your core offerings,” said Oliver Siodmak, a managing director at Deloitte Digital. “Customers see your marketplace as an extension of your existing channel strategy rather than a disjointed offshoot.” 

What is remarkable is Macy’s upfront commitment to planning and process re-engineering across multiple departments to ensure their customers get a friction-free experience both online and when engaging staff within their retail stores.

We know that customers will continue to shop online more frequently for the foreseeable future. The heightened consumer preference for online shopping means more focus will be dedicated to e-commerce services and experiences than ever before. The retailers that can determine the suitable digital commerce model, or combination of models, for their brand—and ensure their ecosystem and capabilities are in place to satisfy the consumer—will have a clear competitive advantage. 

woman shoppint online

If you'd like to learn more about our work for Macy’s, Inc., check out this article in the Wall Street Journal and this recent interview with Macy's Chief Digital and Customer Officer Matt Baer on the That Makes Cents podcast.

Marketplaces can be a valuable diversification strategy for businesses in a variety of consumer, industrial, and wholesale product industries. Interested in exploring whether a third-party marketplace should be on the roadmap for your business?